Restaurants, however, are still relegated to outdoor dining, curbside pick-up and to go orders

Coronavirus photo courtesy CDC

By Staff Reports

The State of California has moved Santa Clara County from the Purple Tier (Tier 1) to the Red Tier (Tier 2) on the State’s new COVID-19 blueprint, effective Tuesday, Sept. 8. Counties assigned to the Red Tier are still experiencing “substantial spread” of COVID-19, however, the state’s framework allows counties moving from the Purple to Red Tier to reopen indoor operations at some additional businesses and allows certain activities to resume, so long as appropriate protocols and protective measures are strictly followed.

The following businesses and activities are now allowed to resume but must be in compliance with all industry-specific mandatory directives set forth by the county and state, including having a Social Distancing Protocol on file and displayed.

  • Personal care services: allowed to open indoors with modifications

  • Museums, zoos, aquariums: allowed to open indoors at 25 percent capacity

  • Gyms and fitness centers: allowed to open indoors at 10 percent capacity

  • Shopping malls: allowed to open indoors at 50 percent capacity (previously open at 25 percent capacity)

  • Schools: K-12 schools can open after the county has been in the Red Tier for 14 days. All schools must follow mandatory guidance set by Santa Clara County and the State of California

Hair salons and barbershops were previously allowed to open indoors with reduced capacity as of Aug. 31. Indoor dining, indoor movie theaters, and indoor gatherings remain prohibited in Santa Clara County under the local Risk Reduction Order. Other activities that the county had previously allowed but the state had prohibited can now resume. The stricter of the state or local order always controls.

“We are pleased at this sign of progress in the fight against COVID-19, but we remind our residents that all local requirements involving the number of people who can enter a facility, face covering requirements, and social distancing protocols remain in effect,” said James R. Williams, county counsel for the Santa Clara County. “It is critical that the businesses and activities that reopen today follow the public health directives so that we can maintain our community’s progress in bringing down COVID-19 transmission.”

 Santa Clara County was originally placed in the most restrictive Purple Tier along with most other counties when the state switched from the monitoring list system to its current color-coded tier framework Aug. 28. The move to the Red Tier was based on daily case rates and test positivity. The state framework gives counties credit toward their case rate if they test more people than the state average. Using this calculation, the high number of tests performed in our area gave Santa Clara County a significant credit, allowing the county to move to the Red Tier.

If these metrics continue to improve, the county would be eligible to move forward in the framework to a less restrictive tier after three weeks. If these metrics worsen, the county would revert into a more restrictive tier as soon as two weeks from now. For more information about the State framework, visit For more information on the local public health order and directives, please visit

Robert Airoldi