Santa Clara County closes indoor dining, prepares to roll back to Red Tier

Santa Clara County has imposed additional restrictions in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 cases over recent weeks.

County health officer Dr. Sara Cody announced on Friday that indoor dining and other activities deemed ‘high risk’ will be off-limits beginning Tuesday, November 17. Officials expect the county will be moved to California’s Red Tier the same day, which calls for similar restrictions. Announcing the closure early ensures that Santa Clara County’s restrictions can be enforced several days earlier than the state’s mandate would require.

“Unfortunately I think our trends are not headed in a favorable direction for us, and similar to March when we had a rapid increase in cases, we may be needing to take additional restrictions quickly,” said Dr. Cody in a press conference Friday.

In a statement, officials cited Santa Clara County’s sudden, rapid spike in COVID-19 cases and a significant increase in hospitalizations; the average new cases per day has more than doubled since early October. Unless the current spike can be contained, the County expects to be moved to the Purple Tier within weeks.

The move into the ‘Red Tier’ means certain businesses will have to take additional restrictions.

Restrictions include:

  • Outdoor gatherings must limit capacity to 200 attendees
  • Indoor gatherings must limit capacity to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers must limit capacity to 10%
  • Shopping Centers and retail stores must limit capacity to 50%
  • Wineries and restaurants must operate outdoors only
  • Bars, Breweries, and Distilleries where no meals are provided must close

San Francisco imposed a ban on all indoor dining effective midnight Friday, after scuttling plans to expand capacity earlier this month. Cases in San Francisco have shot up 250 percent in the six weeks since restaurants were allowed to reopen for indoor dining, according to reports.

On Thursday, California surpassed 1 million COVID cases statewide, becoming the second state in the country to do so after Texas announced similar news earlier in the week.  

On Friday, the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories urging visitors and travelers outside these states to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving to help slow the spread of the virus.