By the Daily Post staff
Restaurants operating outdoors in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View and other Santa Clara County communities will have to switch to take-out only under a new lockdown order declared yesterday by county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.
That means restaurants that have opened outdoor dining areas on streets or sidewalks will have to remove them.
On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that four areas of the state would have to go to a full stay-at-home order, similar to the one imposed in March, because of a rising number of Covid sufferers in hospital ICUs. The one area that wasn’t put under the order was the Bay Area.
However today, health officers in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and Marin counties and the city of Berkeley decided they would go to the full stay-at-home mode on their own.
San Mateo County decided not to join the other counties in locking down their communities.
“We acknowledge the reality of the pandemic fatigue that residents are experiencing and the need to find sources of support through this challenging period,” San Mateo County health Chief Louise Rogers said in a statement. “Our collective focus must be on finding ways to support each other through this crisis safely while limiting gathering and adhering to face covering.”
In Santa Clara County and the five other jurisdictions, all “nonessential businesses” will have to close all indoor and outdoor operations.
The order will close all restaurants (except for take-out), wineries, hair and nail salons, cardrooms and fitness centers.
Stores must limit their indoor capacity to 20%.
The statement from the counties shutting down doesn’t indicate whether they studied the economic impact of the business closures. Previously Santa Clara County officials said they hadn’t done any such research. A study by Yelp found that nationally 800 businesses a day are closing in the pandemic.
Schools that have already reopened in-person classes will be allowed to continue and such decisions will be left to officials in each county.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on the ABC News program “This Week” that the nation should “close the bars and keep the schools open.”
“The default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school, or to get them back to school,” Fauci said. “The spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected.”
Newsom’s order was not supposed to take effect until a region has less than 15% of its intensive care unit beds available. Newsom said Thursday the Bay Area as a whole was unlikely to meet that threshold until mid-December.
The five Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley chose to implement the order now as new cases and hospitalizations skyrocket around the state. Los Angeles County has already done so as well.
The five counties said restrictions will remain in effect through Jan. 4. However, when the first stay-at-home order was imposed in March, it was only supposed to last for three weeks and instead was extended for several months as the criteria for lifting the order frequently changed.