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Santa Clara County Leaders Slam Brakes on Rapid Reopening

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- The Bay Area's largest county may be on the verge of getting the green light from the state to reopen its economy a little more.

On Thursday, county leaders confirmed that Santa Clara County had moved from the purple tier of widespread COVID-19 transmission into the red tier of substantial transmission two weeks ago and that the governor could announce as soon as Tuesday that the county could reopen its economy, including indoor personal-care services, restaurants, movie theaters, churches, gyms and fitness studios with modifications. The list in the red tier also includes schools.

County leaders also said they would continue to keep its restrictions in place, because of the increase in COVID-19 cases.

"There should be no mistake, we still have a significant amount of transmission in our community," said Santa Clara County counsel James Williams.

Williams said that the state's new tier system also came with an adjustment in numbers and that the county only moved into the red tier because of its high level of testing.

"So because we're doing more testing than the state average, they have a factor that they apply and adjust the case rate downward," Williams said.

He said the more restrictive order will be enforced as it always has and, in this case, it is the county's order.

"As a teacher, it's frightening," said Marisa Hanson.

Hanson, a teacher in San Jose as well as an Evergreen School District board member and mother, said teachers are stressed out about an order to return to the classroom.

"I have a child who has Down Syndrome," Hanson said. "If I were to get it and to give to my son, I don't know if he'd survive."

Many business owners, including those in the fitness industry who were only open for 48 hours before they were shut down again in July, are watching their sales decline and can't wait for the day they can reopen.

Others, like Hanson, are trying to keep their doors closed for now.

"We know it's the right thing for now, keeping ourselves safe, keeping our students safe," Hanson said.

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