Santa Clara County cuts health restrictions as region moves to Yellow Tier effective Wednesday

Santa Clara County health officials today rolled back stringent COVID-19 health restrictions imposed last fall and issued new orders that reflect the region’s favorable metrics in cases and vaccination data.

County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody announced the region will advance to the Yellow Tier effective Wednesday, May 19 in light of significant advances against the virus over the last 30 days.

“We are in a very different and much safer place,” she said in a news conference on Tuesday. “We have a clear path out of this pandemic.”

The County’s case rate is one-third of what it was a month ago, its positivity rate is 0.5 percent, and more than 75 percent of the County’s residents ages 16 and up have had one shot, Cody reported.

“The Covid vaccines authorized by the FDA are incredibly safe and effective, prevent illness, hospitalization and death, and they prevent people from spreading Covid. With increasing vaccinations and this new evidence that vaccination prevents transmission, today I am retiring many of the restrictions that have been in place for a long time.”

Dr. Cody has rescinded last October’s risk reduction order, and replaced it with a new, simpler health order with three key tenets. The new order:

  1. Requires employers to determine the vaccination status of personnel  
  2. Defines safety rules for employees who remain unvaccinated
  3. Requires employers to mandate employees report a positive COVID case, and to in turn report those cases within 24 hours to the County Public Health Department at

Quarantine is no longer required for those who are fully vaccinated, defined as two weeks after the second vaccine dose, or in the case of the single-dose vaccine, two weeks after the dose.

The County will continue to follow the California Department of Public Health masking rules, Cody said. While indoor mask rules still apply, people who are vaccinated don’t need to wear masks outdoors.

The County continues to make every effort to reach the hardest hit communities to ensure everyone has access to this lifesaving vaccine, Dr. Cody said.

“For the first time in a long time, I feel optimistic. Team vaccine is in the lead, holding the lead and will win. We need everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated so we can bring this health emergency to a close in this area.” For information on how and where to get vaccinated, visit