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Coronavirus Update: Santa Clara County Brings A Halt To Car Parade Celebrations

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Birthday parties and graduation celebrations look much differently during these times of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. Some people have turned to parades of cars as a safe alternative.

In Santa Clara County, health officials are asking people to find other ways to celebrate life's milestones than getting in a car and driving by someone's house.

Videos of car parades are a common sight on social media. People waving signs out the window, drivers honking horns, even people standing up, screaming through the sunroof. It's an improvised way to celebrate with loved ones during a time of social distancing.

"I could definitely understand why someone would want to have their family or loved ones and just be able to see them in person," says Kayla Young who lives in San Jose.

Santa Clara County leaders say even though no one is getting out of their cars during these types of celebrations, it's still a violation of the shelter-in-place order issued by the county health officers.

"They want to minimize people going out for anything that is not an essential function," says David Campos, the Deputy County Executive for Santa Clara.

Police cars and fire trucks often part of the celebrations. The county says those agencies are essential and it's up to each department to decide whether to participate, but they're asking everyone else to find other creative ways to celebrate.

"That was never really envisioned as something that would be allowed, because from a public health perspective, you want to minimize public gatherings," says Campos.

Right now, Santa Clara County is the only one in the Bay Area publicly asking people to stop the parties on wheels. It's something that is drawing mixed feelings from people who live here.

"If you're not harming people in the process, why not do it? It's just additional restrictions, I don't quite see the value behind them," says David Eydus, a San Jose resident.

"If we can stay inside for the amount of time that they want us to, then it will be over sooner, so part of me is like, just hold out. Stay at home while you can," says Young.

"I think having a little bit of leeway to kind of relieve the stress and tension of being locked up inside, even little things like this, would really help. Kind of a morale boost," says Mitchell Supan, who also lives in San Jose.

It's will be up to each police department to decide if their agency will enforce the ban. Violating the shelter in place order could lead to fines or even jail time.

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