November 12, 2020

Dear Business and Community Member,

This week began with the Santa Clara County Health Officer calling on the public for strict adherence to safety protocols after seeing a sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases and an increase in hospitalizations. It is very important that all businesses and members of the public practice proper social distancing, use of face coverings, and other safety measures to help keep the community healthy and the County of Santa Clara in its current risk-level categorization. As we enter our fourth full week of graduating into the State of California’s Orange Tier 3, we want to remind everyone of the current mandatory requirements for all gatherings. 

The State defines “gatherings” as social situations that bring together people from different households at the same time in a single space or place. The State generally allows gatherings only for purposes of worship services, cultural ceremonies like funerals and weddings (but not wedding receptions, which are prohibited), and protest or political activities. On October 9, 2020, the State issued an Order allowing small outdoor private gatherings with no more than three households. These gatherings must follow the State’s rules. Because the stricter of the requirements applies, the only gatherings allowed in Santa Clara County are those allowed by the State.

To help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, everyone should:

1. Gather outdoor instead of indoor. Gatherings that occur outdoors are significantly safer than indoor gatherings. To qualify as an outdoor gathering, the gathering must be held entirely outside, except that attendees may go inside to use restrooms if the restrooms are frequently sanitized. 

2. Don’t attend gatherings if you feel sick or you are in a high-risk group. If you feel sick or have any COVID-19-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste/smell), stay home and do not attend any gatherings.

3. Practice social distancing and hand hygiene at gatherings. At all gatherings everyone must stay at least 6 feet away from other people (except people in their own household) at all times. Seating arrangements must provide at least 6 feet of distance (in all directions) between different households. Seating and tables must be sanitized after each use. Use of shared items during a gathering is prohibited.

4. Wear a face covering to keep COVID-19 from spreading. Everyone must wear a face covering at all times during a gathering (except for very young children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for communication by or with people who are hearing impaired). Health officials strongly encourages everyone to choose a face covering with at least two layers of material that fits snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin, hooking around your ears or tying behind your head. Do not wear your face covering below your nose or with the top tucked underneath your chin. People at outdoor gatherings may remove their face coverings to eat or drink. People must put their face covering back on as soon as they are finished with the activity. More information on what types of face coverings are safe to wear can be found by visiting the Santa Clara County Public Health Order Frequently Asked Questions website.  

5. Stagger attendance at gatherings. For gatherings that have the potential to draw larger groups, like community meetings or religious services, consider offering multiple sessions, requiring reservations that cap attendance at each session, staggering arrivals and departures, and encouraging or requiring that the same group stays together.

6. Maximize ventilation for indoor gatherings. Open doors and windows to maximize circulation of outdoor air whenever environmental conditions and building requirements allow.

With COVID-19 cases rising within the region, businesses and community members must continue to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19, especially as we approach the winter season. Just this week Health Officers from ten Bay Area counties issued joint recommendations for staying safe during the holidays. The recommendations cover gatherings and travel, with recommended steps to reduce risk.

Santa Clara County Live Public Health Briefings
The Public Health Department continues to provide Santa Clara County residents and businesses with informational updates through its Facebook Page. This past week’s briefings included: 
The Risk of Gatherings (English): Deputy Health Officer, Dr. George Han, and County staff discuss the risk levels involved when gathering indoors and outdoors, state and local guidelines about gatherings, and what is allowed in Santa Clara County.
The Risk of Gatherings (Spanish): Public Information Officers, Rodrigo Garcia and Indira Fonseca, discuss the COVID-19 risks associated with indoor and outdoor gatherings and what is allowed in Santa Clara County. 
The Risk of Gatherings (Vietnamese): As holidays approach, Ly Vo and Nhu-Hanh Tonnu discuss the risks associated with indoor and outdoor gatherings and what is allowed in Santa Clara County.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Santa Clara County Public Health website. If you have any questions or need business assistance during COVID-19, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Economic Development team by sending a message anytime to [email protected].

In community spirit,

Alex Andrade
Economic Development Director
Phone: (408) 586-3046
455 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas CA 95035