The Santa Clara County Health Department has officially extended the shelter in place order to May 3 in a continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve critical hospital capacity. The original order that went into effect on March 17 was only supposed to be for three weeks, but this new order will keep residents in their homes for another month.
The new shelter in place order will supersede the previous order and go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. There is also an indefinite statewide stay-at-home order which was issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Dr. Sara Cody, County of Santa Clara Health Officer and Director of Public Health, made the announcement in coordination with other Bay Area jurisdictions including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo.
The new shelter in place order puts additional restrictions in place and adds some clarifying language around essential business and activities, as well as some new directives. Social distancing is now mandatory under the new order and other additions include:
- Use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and similar recreational areas is prohibited. These areas must be closed to public use.
- Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls is prohibited. These facilities must be closed for recreational use.
- Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment must be limited to people in the same household.
- Requires essential businesses to develop a social distancing protocol before April 3.
- Most construction — residential and commercial — is prohibited.
- Funerals limited to no more than 10 people attending.
- Essential businesses expanded to include service providers that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies, Realtors, etc.); funeral homes and cemeteries; moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities.
- Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities must scale down operations to their essential component only.
The full order and more information about these restrictions are available on the County’s website.
The Santa Clara County Health Department said the original order was not enough. “There has been a significant increase in the number of positive cases, hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19, which is beginning to strain healthcare resources.” Dr. Cody emphasized that residents need to stay in small stable groups and limit going out to only essential errands.
Dr. Cody and Dr. Jeffrey Smith, County’s Executive Officer, said that the County’s hospitals are not yet at capacity, but they are starting to fill up. The goal is to give hospitals more time to deal with possibly reaching capacity. However, things are constantly changing, Dr. Smith said.
According to information available as of March 30, Santa Clara County has 848 COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately, the County has also reported 28 deaths. Of those deaths, 29 percent were ages 81 – 90, while 25 percent were 71 – 80 years old. The County keeps a dashboard with the most recent numbers on their website.
At the state level, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for residential renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31.
The Governor’s order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts. The order requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19.
Tenants are required to retain documentation but not required to submit it to the landlord in advance. And tenants remain obligated to repay their full rent in a timely manner and could still face eviction after the enforcement moratorium is lifted. The order took effect on March 27.
Previously, Newsom issued an executive order that authorized local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the pandemic. The City of Santa Clara City Council halted evictions for residents last week and the City of Sunnyvale was planning on doing the same.