Examining How Santa Clara County Enforces Stay-at-Home Order

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Santa Clara County continues to lead the Bay Area in COVID-19 cases, which means the South Bay is also under the national microscope over how it is enforcing the stay-at-home order.

In fact, one member of the district attorney's committee that screens possible violations was just featured in the New York Times.

The county's top law enforcement officer, District Attorney Jeff Rosen, has the tough job of enforcing the public health order, which takes away some liberties.

Rosen said his office has received over 7,000 calls or complaints of non compliance to the stay-at-home orders. The district attorney said the county has had a handful of citations, but the vast majority of people have voluntarily complied.

Dave Diggs, who owns Barbers Barbershop in San Jose, is one of the businesses who shut down voluntarily before any orders were made official.

"Once the schools started closing and other businesses started closing, I think it was a no brainer to close," Diggs said.

Rosen said each case of non compliance to the order is reviewed by a committee in the DA's office. While some decisions can be made by individual prosecutors, Rosen said the committee has to lean toward public health.

"We're in a situation where we're doing everything we can to save lives," Rosen said.

Meanwhile, San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia has said he does not have the staff or inclination to clamp down on certain public health violations, such as non-violent gatherings. Rosen sees no conflict.

"We wanted to try to triage as much as we could -- those 7,000 calls -- because the police department would be overwhelmed if they had to respond to all of those," Rosen said.

Diggs said no one wants to defy the order, but has not seen much aid for businesses. He hopes barber shops and salons are included soon in the reopening phases because compliance is still not good for business.

"Sometimes when you fix something, you break something else," Diggs said.

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