Local business groups push for faster reopening

A group of local business organizations called out Santa Clara County health officials this week, arguing for faster reopenings.

“Six months into what was intended be a short- term shelter in place order, local businesses are suffering to the point of extinction,” the Silicon Valley Coalition of Chambers said, in a statement.

Their demand for faster reopenings come as Santa Clara County has made progress in reducing the spread of COVID-19. However, the state still classifies the county as having “substantial spread” down from “widespread.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the county had a 7-day average of 129 new cases per day, including 150 reported Thursday. 100 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county, including 14 new patients reported Thursday. Cumulative deaths from the pandemic total 295 in Santa Clara County. Health officials have been pushing local health providers to expand testing numbers and access in recent days.

The business organizations say that California is 50th of 51 in having the most restrictions among U.S. states and D.C. According to CDC data, however, California is 27th in deaths per 100,000 residents at 37. However, Santa Clara County is well below that number at 15 deaths per 100,000, lending credibility to more restrictive measures.

Making demands

Chamber officials said it was not just wildfire smoke chocking businesses, but “overly restrictive regulations” from the county as well.

Business leaders made several demands in their statement, ranging from the desire for direct input on reopenings to clarity on protocols and guidelines for how businesses can comply. They also asked the county to provide more financial assistance to closed businesses.

“Reopening the economy and keeping the County’s residents safe is an objective that can be achieved simultaneously,” the group said.

“Achieving one at the cost of the other is a short-sighted answer to the long-term challenge we face.”