Santa Clara County will move into the red tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Wednesday as county case rates continue to decline and vaccine distribution continues. County Director of Public Health Sara Cody said that Santa Clara County, which has thus far experienced stricter guidelines than the rest of the state, will now follow a reopening strategy that is largely aligned with California’s COVID-19 blueprint.
During a Tuesday press conference, county counsel James R. Williams also provided an update on how moving into the red tier will impact daily life in Santa Clara County. According to Williams, retail and shopping centers are now able to open at 50% capacity, up from 20%. Zoos, aquariums and museums are able to operate at 25% capacity, and movie theaters can operate with a total maximum capacity of 100 people. Indoor dining will also reopen at 25% capacity, while gyms and fitness centers are able to operate at 10% capacity.
Wednesday also marks the end of the mandatory local travel quarantine, which mandated that all individuals traveling into Santa Clara County from locations over 150 miles from its borders must quarantine for at least 10 days upon arrival.
With partial reopenings underway, Santa Clara County health officials said the county’s next issue to tackle is vaccination. According to Cody, a little under 60% of the population in Santa Clara County over the age of 65 has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 20% of the overall county population has received at least one dose. Susan Ellenberg of the county’s Board of Supervisors said the goal is to have 85% of the population vaccinated by mid summer.
“We are now adjusting our approach to enable us to focus 100% of our energy on what we know is our clear path out of this pandemic, and that is vaccination,” Cody said during Tuesday’s press conference.
While Williams, Cody and Ellenberg are encouraged by the declining COVID-19 rates and vaccine administration, they warned citizens that loosening restrictions does not mean that the pandemic is over. All three cautioned listeners to keep up the same procedures of wearing a mask, social distancing and staying outdoors.
“We want to get through to the end of the pandemic together as a community,” Williams said.