Santa Clara County will impose a stay-at-home order starting this Sunday at 10 p.m. in response to an increase in coronavirus cases in the region, health officials announced at a joint press conference Friday.
A day prior, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a situational statewide stay-at-home order that would go into effect if a region, one of five designated in California, was to have more than 85% of their ICU beds filled.
Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sarah Cody said the county reached 14% capacity on Friday. ICU beds filled with COVID-19 patients tripled last month.
“We cannot wait until after we have driven off the cliff to pull the emergency brake,” Cody said. “We understand that the closures under the state order will have a profound impact on our local businesses. However, if we act quickly, we can both save lives and reduce the amount of time these restrictions have to stay in place, allowing businesses and activities to reopen sooner.”
Santa Clara County will preemptively impose these restrictions along with Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Francisco county, as well as the City of Berkeley, starting on Dec. 6 and lasting until at least Jan 4.
This order will limit retailers to 20% of their store’s maximum occupancy. It will also require establishments such as barbershops, hair and nail salons, outdoor playgrounds and sports facilities to close. The order will put restrictions on youth sports, prohibiting indoor practices and requiring restaurants to cease in-person dining. Religious gatherings will still be allowed to commence outdoors.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and schools that have already opened for in-person instruction will be allowed to remain open.
Palo Alto Unified elementary schools will remain open for the foreseeable future, district officials said on Friday. However, plans to reopen secondary schools have been put on hold, Superintendent Don Austin said in an alert Friday.
“Despite extraordinary preparation efforts, it is now clear that our secondary schools will be prohibited from opening for hybrid instruction.” Austin said. “We do not see a viable path for high schools to reopen for hybrid instruction in the second semester.”
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.