State flip-flops, approves Santa Clara County’s re-opening plan

Local Union 271 is one of the Palo Alto restaurants that is putting tables outdoors. Post photo.

By the Daily Post staff

TODAY, 10 A.M. — The state has now approved Santa Clara County’s plan to reopen many businesses after rejecting the idea over the weekend.

Most businesses will be able to open July 13 provided they follow social distancing regulations and employees wear masks.

Groups of up to 20 can gather indoors, while as many as 60 can gather outdoors.

Only “high risk” businesses won’t be able to open on July 13, such as indoor bars, indoor restaurants, sports stadiums and arenas, amusement and theme parks.

Yesterday, after the state initially rejected the county’s plan, there were questions about whether restaurants that were seating patrons outdoors could continue to do so. Today’s announcement clears that up — outdoor restaurant seating is OK.

More information about the new order that goes into effect next week can be found here.

MONDAY, 3 P.M. — The state has denied Santa Clara County’s request to reopen more businesses, and may be on the verge of closing outdoor dining in the county.

But for now, both Mountain View and Palo Alto plan to keep their downtown street closures going, spokeswomen for the two cities said.

On Thursday, county public health officer Dr. Sara Cody announced that her office is working with the state to reopen services such as hair salons and gyms by July 13. But on Saturday, the state sent an initial rejection of Dr. Cody’s plan to the county.

The county is still “in discussions” with the state about the application, and plan to still have businesses reopen next week, according to Deputy County Executive David Campos.

A representative of the state Department of Health declined to say why the county’s opening plan was denied.

On June 5, the county allowed in-store shopping and outdoor dining to resume. But the state Department of Public Health says that is not allowed because the county does not have an approved reopening plan from the state. The state on June 12 said counties that have had their reopening plans approved can have outdoor dining.

San Mateo County’s Health Officer, Dr. Scott Morrow, mentioned a similar issue with the state’s order on June 15. In a memo to residents last month, Morrow said that when the county opened up outdoor dining, the state told the county it needed to apply for a variance. As a result, Morrow applied for a variance, which was approved, and San Mateo County has allowed activities such as gyms and bars since June 17.

However, Santa Clara County, which has fewer cases and deaths per capita than San Mateo County, isn’t being allowed to reopen gyms, barber shops and hair salons.

On Friday, the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control went to eateries in Morgan Hill and Gilroy and told them to shut down. Campos said that county officials were not notified of the ABC’s crackdown until after it happened.

The crackdown in the South County is raising the question as to whether street closures such as along Castro in Mountain View and University and California Avenue in Palo Alto will still be allowed.

No restaurants in Palo Alto were contacted by state agencies over the weekend, said city spokeswoman Meghan Horrigan-Taylor.

She added that any modifications to the closures of Cal Ave. and University will be based on the county’s guidance following its conversations with the state.

Similarly in Mountian View, Castro Street will remain closed to car traffic until the county tells cities otherwise.

1 Comment

  1. the state doesn’t know what it’s doing any more than the ding dongs in San Jose running the county health department. they’re making it up as they go along — and the victims are all of us

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