News

New county order allows outdoor dining, in-store retail starting Friday

Relaxed rules to take effect on June 5

Crepevine is open for takeout orders in downtown Palo Alto on May 14. Starting June 5, restaurants can serve meals to people at outdoor tables that must be placed 6 feet apart to allow for social distancing. Photo by Magali Gatuhier.

Churches, retailers and restaurants that offer outdoor dining will be allowed to start welcoming back customers on June 5 under a revised stay-at-home order that Santa Clara County issued Monday afternoon.

The updated order, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, is the latest step in the county's incremental approach to reopening the economy. It eases restrictions for all manufacturing, small service businesses and child care programs. This means "low contact" in-home services like house cleaning and shops like shoe repair, will be allowed to reopen on Friday, subject to social-distancing guidelines. Also, churches will be able to have outdoor gatherings for up to 25 people.

The Monday order also eases restrictions for outdoor activities that do not involve physical contact, including swimming, tennis and golf. It also permits stores that have been restricted to curbside service since May 22, to provide in-store retail. It also allows dog grooming businesses to reopen.

The decision to loosen some of the restrictions that have been in effect since March 17 is based on the county's recent success in reducing the number of new cases, increased testing and other key metrics that officials are using to guide their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The county announcement notes that hospitalization rates remain low and steady across the county; and that outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities have been successfully contained. In addition, case investigation and contact tracing is "steadily increasing and is staying ahead of demand," the announcement states.

Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said in a statement that COVID-19 has had an impact on "every aspect of our lives," and has been particularly devastating to low-income communities and communities of color. This, she said, has been "compounded by the structural inequities that exist in our society that are unjust, persistent and damaging."

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"The global pandemic is ongoing, and we must continue to protect the health and well-being of our entire community, especially those most vulnerable to serious illness and death from COVID-19," Cody said. "Public Health is about ensuring health in every sense of the word: from diseases like COVID-19, and from social and economic impacts on health, too. For all those reasons, we have chosen to be measured in how and when we reopen."

The order will allow cities like Palo Alto to advance their plans to close streets to traffic and make them available for outdoor dining, subject to guidelines from the county. The specific guidance for restaurants is brief, related mostly to serving diners from the same households and social distancing.

Outdoor dining gives people access to food "at a relatively low risk of transmission," an appendix in the updated order states.

"Because food service will be limited to outdoor areas, the overall volume of increased activity will be modest," it reads. "In addition, interactions and activities that occur outdoors carry a lower risk of transmission than most indoor interactions and activities. Risks associated with these operations can be substantially mitigated with conditions to ensure adequate social distancing and limit intermixing between households."

Restaurants must limit outdoor tables to six people each, all of whom must be from the same household. All tables must be placed 6 feet apart to allow for social distancing.

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The county also will allow alcohol to be served with meals but not separately; bar areas must stay closed.

The county's latest order largely followed the guidance of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who in recent weeks has been gradually opening up sectors of the state economy. Bay Area counties, which have largely marched in lockstep since the March stay-at-home orders, have taken slightly different approaches to reopening. San Francisco and San Mateo counties had each eased restrictions for curbside retail before Santa Clara County.

Customers form a line outside the Apple Store in downtown Palo Alto on May 27. Under a new order issued June 1, retailers in Santa Clara County can begin entertaining customers inside their stores starting June 5. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

On Monday, health officials from all six counties issued a joint statement saying that they will each make decisions on what to reopen and how quickly to do so "based on the data related to the specific conditions in our communities, as well as our joint assessment of broader regional trends."

"As we open additional sectors, we are relying on businesses to consistently follow social distancing protocols and public health guidance to protect their employees and customers," the statement reads. "Bay Area residents should still stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings, frequently wash hands, stay home when feeling ill, get tested if exposed, and follow the other precautions that have helped our region make such outstanding progress to slow the spread of COVID-19."

Even as the order was issued, hundreds of residents in various Bay Area cities, including San Francisco, Menlo Park and Palo Alto, assembled to protest police brutality and demand justice in the aftermath of George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis on May 25.

In light of the protests, Santa Clara County public health officials issued a statement Monday asking residents who are engaging in peaceful protests to use face coverings and to maintain social distancing to the extent possible.

Those who have been in close contact with others at large gatherings are also encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 within three to five days of exposure and to watch for any symptoms of the virus. Testing facilities can be found at sccfreetest.org.

Staff Writer Elena Kadvany contributed to this report.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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New county order allows outdoor dining, in-store retail starting Friday

Relaxed rules to take effect on June 5

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 1, 2020, 5:01 pm

Churches, retailers and restaurants that offer outdoor dining will be allowed to start welcoming back customers on June 5 under a revised stay-at-home order that Santa Clara County issued Monday afternoon.

The updated order, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, is the latest step in the county's incremental approach to reopening the economy. It eases restrictions for all manufacturing, small service businesses and child care programs. This means "low contact" in-home services like house cleaning and shops like shoe repair, will be allowed to reopen on Friday, subject to social-distancing guidelines. Also, churches will be able to have outdoor gatherings for up to 25 people.

The Monday order also eases restrictions for outdoor activities that do not involve physical contact, including swimming, tennis and golf. It also permits stores that have been restricted to curbside service since May 22, to provide in-store retail. It also allows dog grooming businesses to reopen.

The decision to loosen some of the restrictions that have been in effect since March 17 is based on the county's recent success in reducing the number of new cases, increased testing and other key metrics that officials are using to guide their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The county announcement notes that hospitalization rates remain low and steady across the county; and that outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities have been successfully contained. In addition, case investigation and contact tracing is "steadily increasing and is staying ahead of demand," the announcement states.

Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said in a statement that COVID-19 has had an impact on "every aspect of our lives," and has been particularly devastating to low-income communities and communities of color. This, she said, has been "compounded by the structural inequities that exist in our society that are unjust, persistent and damaging."

"The global pandemic is ongoing, and we must continue to protect the health and well-being of our entire community, especially those most vulnerable to serious illness and death from COVID-19," Cody said. "Public Health is about ensuring health in every sense of the word: from diseases like COVID-19, and from social and economic impacts on health, too. For all those reasons, we have chosen to be measured in how and when we reopen."

The order will allow cities like Palo Alto to advance their plans to close streets to traffic and make them available for outdoor dining, subject to guidelines from the county. The specific guidance for restaurants is brief, related mostly to serving diners from the same households and social distancing.

Outdoor dining gives people access to food "at a relatively low risk of transmission," an appendix in the updated order states.

"Because food service will be limited to outdoor areas, the overall volume of increased activity will be modest," it reads. "In addition, interactions and activities that occur outdoors carry a lower risk of transmission than most indoor interactions and activities. Risks associated with these operations can be substantially mitigated with conditions to ensure adequate social distancing and limit intermixing between households."

Restaurants must limit outdoor tables to six people each, all of whom must be from the same household. All tables must be placed 6 feet apart to allow for social distancing.

The county also will allow alcohol to be served with meals but not separately; bar areas must stay closed.

The county's latest order largely followed the guidance of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who in recent weeks has been gradually opening up sectors of the state economy. Bay Area counties, which have largely marched in lockstep since the March stay-at-home orders, have taken slightly different approaches to reopening. San Francisco and San Mateo counties had each eased restrictions for curbside retail before Santa Clara County.

On Monday, health officials from all six counties issued a joint statement saying that they will each make decisions on what to reopen and how quickly to do so "based on the data related to the specific conditions in our communities, as well as our joint assessment of broader regional trends."

"As we open additional sectors, we are relying on businesses to consistently follow social distancing protocols and public health guidance to protect their employees and customers," the statement reads. "Bay Area residents should still stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings, frequently wash hands, stay home when feeling ill, get tested if exposed, and follow the other precautions that have helped our region make such outstanding progress to slow the spread of COVID-19."

Even as the order was issued, hundreds of residents in various Bay Area cities, including San Francisco, Menlo Park and Palo Alto, assembled to protest police brutality and demand justice in the aftermath of George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis on May 25.

In light of the protests, Santa Clara County public health officials issued a statement Monday asking residents who are engaging in peaceful protests to use face coverings and to maintain social distancing to the extent possible.

Those who have been in close contact with others at large gatherings are also encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 within three to five days of exposure and to watch for any symptoms of the virus. Testing facilities can be found at sccfreetest.org.

Staff Writer Elena Kadvany contributed to this report.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

TimR
Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2020 at 5:06 pm
TimR, Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2020 at 5:06 pm
1 person likes this

I hope they all make it through the protests/looting with no damage. The Apple Store, along with many others along Univeristy, are boarded up now, but others aren't. They've suffered enough.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 1, 2020 at 5:40 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 1, 2020 at 5:40 pm
4 people like this

How about opening the dog parks?


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2020 at 5:57 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2020 at 5:57 pm
4 people like this

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

>> How about opening the dog parks?

See section 4: Web Link


YP
Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2020 at 6:25 pm
YP, Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2020 at 6:25 pm
12 people like this

Scary how one person has so much control on our lives and who can go to work and earn a living for their family. And this person has an obvious agenda. Here is a cut from this article

This, she said, has been "compounded by the structural inequities that exist in our society that are unjust, persistent and damaging."

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YP
Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2020 at 6:30 pm
YP, Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2020 at 6:30 pm
14 people like this

By the way Cody is a "public health" official making comments on societal inequities out of her purview, I should assume she should stick to science but obviously not.


chris
University South
on Jun 1, 2020 at 6:56 pm
chris, University South
on Jun 1, 2020 at 6:56 pm
13 people like this

YP,

You do not understand the situation. See the message from Mayor Shikada this afternoon. If you are oblivious to the relationship between race, health and equity, you are part of the problem. Conquering COVID-19 very much has to do with the interactions of race, ethnicity, and income.


YP
Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:30 pm
YP, Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:30 pm
7 people like this

I'm not oblivious as you say, but obviously a "health expert" has an agenda


Grumpy cat
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 1, 2020 at 8:35 pm
Grumpy cat , Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 1, 2020 at 8:35 pm
15 people like this

YP, it’s too bad you grump about 1 little thing our health official said instead of appreciating the orders she gave that have and are preventing Santa Clara County from becoming anything like NY or NJ. You’d think after articles have come out revealing a few of the crazy ways that COVID-19 can take out your elders, young healthy fit adults, and even children, as well as the burden and risk it places on healthcare workers - you could have some appreciation for how much Dr Cody is actively sheltering our county from the devastation of COVID-19. If she didn’t do anything, or loosened the order too soon then you’d be mad at her for that! Complaining about the work of others is your happy place.


Not fans of Dr. Cody
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2020 at 11:00 pm
Not fans of Dr. Cody, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2020 at 11:00 pm
6 people like this

Dr. Cody did a good job in the first 6 weeks. But she has no sense the confirmed cases and the death rate are so low that she shouldn't make the economy suffered in Santa Clara county.


?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:37 am
?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:37 am
5 people like this

What about barbers and hair salons?


Sam
Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 2, 2020 at 3:03 am
Sam, Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 2, 2020 at 3:03 am
Like this comment

What about dental offices? Not mentioned in the list


Resident DTN
Downtown North
on Jun 2, 2020 at 3:59 am
Resident DTN, Downtown North
on Jun 2, 2020 at 3:59 am
4 people like this

Not easy to be the Santa Clara health officer right now; she went from anonymity to what seems like a lot of control and visibility. Overall I think she has done a decent job, but it is impossible to please everyone. She has been on the conservative side, but in line with other BA counties. And yes, in times like this I'd rather have someone sensible like Ms Cody have this kind of power than someone without the right background in Public Health. We already have enough people in power that have no regard for human life it seems, public health officials are a refreshing alternative.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 7:21 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 7:21 am
9 people like this

Yet it is completely OK to protest, without masks, in huge numbers with people very close together and even OK for police to hug a protestor.

One rule for the protestors, and another for the general population.


What Will They Do Next
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2020 at 10:55 am
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2020 at 10:55 am
5 people like this

Dr. Cody must love her newly found power. Barber Shops and Hair Salons are well equipped to take and manage employee safety measures, physical distancing and the scheduling of clientele. Walk into a Costco, Trader Joe's, Home Depot and other retailer operations. People in large numbers, many of whom aren't paying attention to any county imposed safety rules all over the place.


Public Health
Midtown
on Jun 2, 2020 at 11:33 am
Public Health, Midtown
on Jun 2, 2020 at 11:33 am
8 people like this

[Portion removed.] Santa Clara County sending emergency alerts and text messages about trivial things, startling people at work, MUST be kicked out of office or stop the nonsense immediately.

Don't tell me people don't have TV or radio and rely on this stupid texts about everyday
happenings!

I hope they don't call my phone..

Sigh.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 11:53 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 11:53 am
1 person likes this

Posted by Public Health, a resident of Midtown

>> Santa Clara County sending emergency alerts and text messages about eff-ing trivial things

I don't agree with using the emergency alert system for this, but, [portion removed] they have important information that we all need to learn.

A lot of people think this is almost over. Here is an alternative view:

"“We are really early in this disease,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told The Times recently. “If this were a baseball game, it would be the second inning.”"

This isn't a "war" -- we are dealing with a virus:

Web Link

"SARS-CoV-2 virus has no plan. It doesn’t need one; absent a vaccine, the virus is here to stay. “This is a pretty efficient pathogen,” Dr. Garry said. “It’s very good at what it does.”"

Here is another NY Times article summarizing the state of COVID-19: Web Link


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:03 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:03 pm
2 people like this

If you want to control a population then disqualify any new information that shows we are winning. So now they are talking about a second wave to justify their restrictions. If things start going right then "watch out for the second wave". The problem here is that they are forecasting the future which they did not do well to begin with and are controlling other people's lives. At some point controlling other people's lives is going to be seen for what it is. We do not know what the future holds and we have plans in place now and need to get on with our lives.


Public Health
Midtown
on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:27 pm
Public Health, Midtown
on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:27 pm
2 people like this

In addition, they are endangering public health and safety by desensitizing
the population to emergency alerts!

As far as Dr. Ashish Jha, yes, he is one of the saner ones on TV. But, try
to reach him, or his publicists..no you can't. These poeple hide, unwilling
to listen to normal people, but would go on (anti)social media to get
publicity to write books...By "these people", I include journalists and
all public figures, including politicians, who go on TV, media to voice
their *opinions*, not necessarily news, and encourage folks to "follow"
them blindly without questioning them!

No transparency! No role models!


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:37 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:37 pm
5 people like this

I received the alert. It is annoying, loud, and late. This should be used for telling me there is a fire and we have to get out, or a person with a gun shooting around the neighborhood and to stay inside. This type of alert causes people to turn their alerts off.

I received a text message. Very calm and easy to find on my phone. Much better way of sending out the information. It is important, but not an urgent emergency. Please continue sending out information this way.


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