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September 22, 2020

Some businesses can reopen as Santa Clara County moves into less-restrictive tier

Movie theaters, indoor dining still prohibited

Santa Clara County moved into the less-restrictive “Red Tier” on Sept. 8 as part of California’s new Covid-19 reopening plan, state officials announced.

Personal care services can now operate indoors with restrictions, and museums, zoos, aquariums and gyms can reopen with limited capacity. Capacity for shopping malls has been increased to 50 percent.

However, while other counties that moved into the Red Tier can open movie theaters and indoor dining, Santa Clara cannot under its local Risk Reduction Order. The stricter of the state or local order takes priority.

Schools can also open for in-person instruction if the county remains in the Red Tier for at least 14 days.

Hair salons and barbershops were previously allowed to open indoors with reduced capacity as of Aug. 31. 

Businesses and activities must be in compliance with all industry-specific mandatory directives by the county and state, including having a Social Distancing Protocol on file and displayed. 

“We are pleased at this sign of progress in the fight against Covid-19, but we remind our residents that all local requirements involving the number of people who can enter a facility, face covering requirements, and social distancing protocols remain in effect,” said James R. Williams, County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara. “It is critical that the businesses and activities that reopen today follow the public health directives so that we can maintain our community’s progress in bringing down Covid-19 transmission.”

Santa Clara County was originally placed in the most restrictive Purple Tier along with most other counties when the state switched from the monitoring list system to its current color-coded tier framework on Aug. 28. The move to the Red Tier was based on daily case rates and test positivity. 

The state framework gives counties credit toward their case rate if they test more people than the state average. Using this calculation, the high number of tests performed in the local area gave Santa Clara County a significant credit, allowing it to move to the Red Tier.

According to county health data, Gilroy had 137 new Covid-19 cases between Sept. 1-7, while Morgan Hill reported 35 over the same period. A total of 116 people countywide are hospitalized as of Sept. 7.

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