Santa Clara Co. finally joins the rest of the Bay Area in Phase 2 of reopening

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Santa Clara County, the final holdout in the Bay Area when it comes to moving into Phase 2 of reopening, will allow curbside pickup, manufacturing and logistics work to resume starting Friday.

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In order to reopen, retail, manufacturing and warehouse businesses need to cap employee density at one person per 300 square feet of space.

All retail transactions with customers will have to occur outside. That means stores within an indoor mall, like Westfield Valley Fair for example, won't be able to reopen for pickup. Freestanding stores or those at outdoor malls (like Stanford Shopping Center or Santa Row) will be allowed to open for pickup.

Car parades (a new celebration trend in the era of COVID-19) will also be allowed under the new stay-at-home orders. Outdoor museums, outdoor historical sites and public gardens will be allowed to reopen.

Why did Santa Clara County wait so long to announce reopening? It has to do with the virus' incubation period, County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a press conference Monday.

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"Two weeks represents the longest likely incubation period of COVID-19 and we needed to see the effect the loosening of the order on May 4 would have," Dr. Cody said. On May 4, the county allowed for the reopening of some outdoor businesses (like plant nurseries) and for construction work to resume.

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Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties (plus the city of Berkeley, which has its own public health department) will all be moving further into Phase 2 of reopening.

Over the past two weeks, Dr. Cody says the county has seen a promising reduction in new coronavirus cases.

"Remember that Santa Clara County started with more cases than any county in the state. And as of now we have just 3% of the cases and 4% of the death statewide," she said.

"The truth is that the conditions on the ground have not changed. We have a population that is susceptible to COVID-19 and we don't have a vaccine. And that's one of the reasons why we've been proceeding very slowly and very cautiously."

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The announcement first came Monday morning in a joint press release from the several Bay Area counties that have been working together on their coronavirus response and shelter-in-place orders: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties (plus the city of Berkeley, which has its own public health department).

Despite the eased restrictions, public health leaders are still asking residents of all the affected jurisdictions to stay at home as much as possible and wear face coverings when they are outside their residence.

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