Outdoor dining, indoor shopping allowed as Santa Clara County enters new phase amid pandemic

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Clara County is moving forward with a new phase of reopening Friday, allowing outdoor dining and indoor shopping among other activities.

As of Friday, a newly-revised shelter-in-place order takes effect, allowing for an easing of initial restrictions that have been in place since March 16 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Waiters wheeled out tables and chairs on the patio at Flames in downtown San Jose Friday morning, preparing to welcome customers to dine outdoors.

The Kitchen has been open for carry-out service since April 27 but the orders come slow -- just two an hour at best, said the manager. This day couldn't come soon enough for wait staff.

"It's just not possible to survive if this thing goes another month or two months. The owner says he might have to close," said Roberto Lopez, assistant manager at Flames.

The revised shelter-in-place order allows for "in-store retail, outdoor dining, all manufacturing, small service businesses, childcare and summer programs, as well as religious, cultural, and civic activities" to reopen with modifications.

At one of the busiest malls in the South Bay, most stores are still boarded up along Santana Row after San Jose police thwarted looting attempts earlier this week. Virtually no stores appeared to be reopening.

Best Buy, currently open for curbside pick-up, said it would reopen the inside of its store to customers June 15 at the earliest.

The neighboring Container Store is also a few days out before it allows customers inside of the store, an employee said. The showroom is currently serving as more of a distribution center to fulfill online orders.

Only a couple of restaurants along Santana Row were adding chairs and tables to outdoor seating areas Friday morning.

"No contact in-home services," such as house cleaning, and "low-contact" businesses like shoe repair are also allowed starting Friday.

Children can attend summer camps or childcare facilities as long as the group size is 12 or fewer.

Religious services can take place outside in groups no larger than 25.

As far as recreation goes, drive-in movie theaters and public swimming pools (with modifications) are also being allowed to open for summer.

County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody has been known to take it slow when it comes to reopening. Last week, she said Gov. Gavin Newsom was moving too quickly in allowing sectors to resume business.

"The pace at which the state has made these modifications is concerning to me," said Dr. Cody in a virtual Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. "We can't see the effects of any of these changes ... for at least 14 days of an incubation period. And 21 days is even better."

Hair salons, barbershops and indoor dining at restaurants are still not allowed to reopen in Santa Clara County.

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