The Bay Area will continue to shelter in place through May 31, as the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department pushes back lifting the order yet another time.
In a press conference on Wednesday, April 29, Santa Clara County extended the shelter in place order with some changes. The new order goes into place on Monday, May 4 when the previous order expires. Dr. Sara Cody, County of Santa Clara Health Officer and Director of Public Health, made the announcement, saying it’s important to go slow.
Changes to the Order
Changes to the shelter in place order coming on May 4 include resuming construction, but only as permitted under the State’s stay at home order.
Additionally, the new order allows the reopening of childcare establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions or programs. However, this is limited to childcare facilities that enable essential employees to work. They must comply with restrictions: they must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children; children shall not change from one group to another; if more than one group of children is at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room, and groups shall not mix with each other; and providers or educators shall remain solely with one group of children.
The new order also allows the use of shared outdoor facilities for recreational activities including golf courses, skate parks and athletic fields. However, they must comply with social distancing and health and safety protocols.
Certain outdoor businesses can also begin operating again, which includes wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers, gardeners and other businesses that primarily provide outdoor services.
The County Counsel James R. Williams cautioned that residents must follow the strictest of the orders, whether it’s the County’s order or the State’s.
Though COVID-19 cases have been stable in the area, Dr. Cody said they can pull back these changes if conditions worsen. However, if conditions continue to improve, they can continue to ease the orders even more.
Indicators to Ease Shelter In Place
The Health Department announced the County’s five indicators that they will use to make decisions about when and how they will ease shelter-in-place restrictions.
The indicators, which were made in collaboration with other Bay Area counties, include:
- Whether the total number of cases in the community is flat or decreasing;
- Whether the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is flat or decreasing;
- Whether there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for all health care workers;
- Whether we are meeting the need for testing, especially for persons in vulnerable populations or those in high-risk settings or occupations; and
- Whether we have the capacity to investigate all COVID-19 cases and trace all of their contacts, isolating those who test positive and quarantining the people who may have been exposed.
These indicators will measure progress in containing COVID-19 and ensuring that County has the infrastructure in place to protect the community.
“Protections will be in place for a very long time,” said Dr. Cody, saying that these changes are being made to preserve the progress the County has made while allowing some low-risk businesses to reopen carefully.