Santa Clara County has moved into the state’s Orange Tier in the response to COVID-19 and that means local cities are starting to open things up.
The City of Santa Clara says the move to the Orange Tier means city parks will be open to the public on Oct. 28.
“Before reopening, the City is implementing the CDC, State of California, and County of Santa Clara Health and Safety Protocols and best practices, including: power wash cleaning and the application of an approved food grade sanitizer on the playground equipment. Same as used on other high touch surfaces/park restrooms,” said Lon Peterson, the Acting Director of Communications for the City of Santa Clara.
To make sure that things stay safe, the City is also installing new touch-less hand sanitizer stations at the entrance of each playground and new signs to educate the public on COVID-19 prevention measures. It has also created an online video message, “Play Safe, Santa Clara,” to help convey these best practices and procedures at City playgrounds.
While City libraries will not reopen just yet, Peterson says things are being adjusted for indoor pickup for when the weather changes.
In Sunnyvale, the city has adjusted to allow for live ambient or atmospheric entertainment, so long as the performers wear face coverings and remain 6 feet away from each other and from customers. Performers cannot sing or play wind or brass instruments.
Mike Johnson, the Executive Director of the Sunnyvale Downtown Association, says given the restrictions, there’s no plan at the moment to bring live music back to downtown, but he’s working on other ideas to serve the public and help local businesses.
“We are kicking off a new campaign, which is going to be called ‘Stronger Together,’” said Johnson. “If you go out to any of these businesses and purchase something and retain a receipt; you collect five receipts, you go into a drawing for $50. You collect 10 receipts, from 10 different categories, you go into a drawing for $100…We just want to encourage people to support and provide activity to the businesses.”
The drawings will happen monthly over the next five months.
Johnson also says plans for a virtual holiday tree lighting on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. are already underway.
“The tree lighting is going to be done semi-virtual because you can have up to 200 people because it’s an outside event,” said Johnson. “We’re going to do a live streaming of our tree lighting simultaneously. The restaurants are still able to be open if the weather permits, they can still be serving outside. We’ll have the new City Council members in addition to community leaders.”
While the tree lighting will be back, last year’s popular outdoor ice rink will not. Johnson says while COVID-19 is making things more difficult, the decision to hold off on the ice rink this year also has to do with the continued redevelopment of Downtown Sunnyvale. Crews are expected to start tearing down the old Macy’s building in early January, limiting the possible time an ice rink would be available.
Under the state and county’s Orange Tier rules, outdoor gatherings can now increase up to 200 people, while indoor gatherings can be up to 25 percent of capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Indoor museums and zoos can now reach up to 50 percent of capacity and the capacity limitation for malls and other retail businesses is lifted.