County urging businesses to submit social distancing protocols before Monday deadline

With Santa Clara County primed to enter the next phase of COVID-19 operations on Monday, businesses must file new protocols.

The new health order takes effect July 13, after days of back and forth with the state in recent days. It is a shift from industry-specific restrictions and instead moves toward a wider risk-reduction strategy. Health officials have said the new approach will hopefully provide some long-term planning stability for businesses and residents.

“The new order was created with harm reduction in mind, understanding that COVID-19 will be with us for a while and we must change the way we live and do business to prevent us from infecting one another,” said Dr. Sara Cody, County Health Officer.

The new approach means a number of shuttered businesses can reopen, including hair and nail salons, and gyms. Face coverings, social distancing, and reduced capacity limits are the hallmark of the new restrictions.

“Everyone needs to carefully follow these protocols, which serve as best practices for a successful, sustainable, and long-term reopening,” said Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez.

Some industries, including construction and dining, have extra requirements and considerations to meet. The county is urging all businesses to submit updated social distancing protocols online in advance.

“Many businesses have been waiting for months to reopen and want to do so in as safe a manner as possible — these required protocols give them the means to do so,” said County Supervisor Mike Wasserman.

Any business reopening Monday must submit and implement the protocols, and all will eventually need to submit them.

“While the order allows more businesses and activities to resume, this must be done with care and adherence to the new safety and distancing protocols,” Cody added.

Businesses can get more information, including the online form and checklist, on the county website here. County staff will be standing by over the weekend to answer businesses’ questions at 408-961-5500.