Santa Clara County residents will be required to shelter in place and only essential businesses and retail will remain open, according to new stay-at-home orders effective 10 p.m. Sunday.

For those businesses that do remain open, social distancing and mask-wearing will be required, while restaurants will be restricted to takeout.

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s plan to implement new restrictions on a regional basis when less than 15% of intensive care units are available, but county health officers in the Bay Area decided to put the plan into action immediately rather than waiting for the crisis to worsen. While the Bay Area region has not yet hit that number, Santa Clara County only has an average of 14% of ICU beds available, according to Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody.

“We cannot wait until after we have driven off the cliff to pull the emergency brake,” Cody said in a joint press conference today. “We understand that the closures under the state order will have a profound impact on our local businesses. However, if we act quickly, we can both save lives and reduce the amount of time these restrictions have to stay in place, allowing businesses and activities to reopen sooner.” 

The counties implementing the order include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the City of Berkeley, while San Mateo County decided against preemptively implementing the order.


“Keep your family safe by avoiding even small gatherings outside of your household and not traveling.”

City of Berkeley Health Officer Lisa B. Hernandez


In addition to the new restrictions, a mandatory directive on travel that went into place on Nov. 30 emphasizes that nonessential travel is discouraged and anyone traveling into the county from over 150 miles away must quarantine for 14 days.

“Each of us can fight the spread,” the City of Berkeley Health Officer Lisa B. Hernandez said. “Keep your family safe by avoiding even small gatherings outside of your household and not traveling. We don’t want holiday gatherings and travel to create a spike of cases on top of the surge we’re already seeing.”

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