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Santa Clara County Issues New COVID-19 Health Order, Outlines Plan To Reopen Gyms, Hair Salons

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Santa Clara County health officials announced details of a new health order Thursday afternoon amid a surge in new coronavirus cases as well as detailing the forthcoming reopening of some businesses.

"We need to adapt. We need to adapt to a new way of living and a new way of being," said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

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The new order established what Dr. Cody described as "long-term risk reduction measures." The new order will allow for certain additional activities to resume, but it also puts in place significant additional containment measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

"This new order marks the next stage in this consistent approach, reflects the reality that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, and we need to adapt to that new reality," said Dr. Cody. "Today's order offers a long-term containment strategy that we believe will need to remain in place for the coming months."

Dr. Cody said if state officials approve the county's application for a variance before July 13, then the order will go into effect on July 13. Otherwise the Order will go into effect two days after state approval.

Under the prior order, many businesses and activities in the community had been allowed to reopen. However, the new order -- for the first time since the pandemic started -- will allow for the reopening of hair and nail salons, massage therapy and other body care services and gyms. Small gatherings will also be allowed.

Cody noted that the new allowable businesses and activities could only happen with strict social distancing protocols in place, consistent use of face coverings and significant capacity limits.

The new order additionally outlines a new Social Distancing Protocol that all businesses must sign and operate under with appropriate signs displaying the rules. New capacity limitations allow no more than one worker per 250 gross square feet of a business facility, and no more than one customer or member of the public per 150 square feet of space open to the public. Some exceptions will apply for healthcare, education and childcare facilities.

All businesses will be legally required to report any COVID-19 cases among employees to the Public Health Department within 4 hours of learning about a confirmed positive test. Businesses must also ensure workers alert them if they test positive.

Santa Clara County -- along with Contra Costa County and Solano County --is one of three Bay Area counties on the state's watch list for regions requiring additional state resources because of troubling COVID-19 trends.

On Wednesday, Santa Clara County reported more than 200 new COVID-19 cases. Currently, there are 4,750 cases in the county, the second-highest in the Bay Area after Alameda County. The 159 deaths in the county are the most in the Bay Area.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced a rollback in the state's phased reopening plans and stricter enforcement of health orders.

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