Thousands of small retail stores all around California are waiting to see exactly what the governor will require for them to reopen as early as Friday, but the Bay Area is in a unique situation, with much tighter restrictions than the state.
The popular Bella James women’s boutique store has been in the Willow Glen neighborhood for 14 years and even though the governor wants their type of retail store to reopen, the owner said Santa Clara County’s tighter restrictions will and should prevent that for now.
“The day the governor said ‘open up’ we get this alert saying ‘stay home,’” said owner Vicky Malbini. “So it’s super confusing, but we’re following the county.”
Along with clothing stores, the governor wants to reopen book and music shops, florists, and sporting goods stores.
Santa Clara County opened two new testing centers in San Jose and Gilroy Wednesday. Increasing testing is one of five crucial indicators needed before Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody will ease local restrictions.
Along with the capacity to test about 400 people a day, Cody wants to see a drop in new cases, a month’s supply of protective gear for health workers, enough hospital beds for a surge and contact tracing for 90% of cases.
A virtual exchange between supervisor Mike Wasserman and Cody at Tuesday’s supervisor meeting demonstrated the potential for confusion and contradiction.
“When you increase the number of people you test, then you’re going to get more positives,” said Wasserman.
The owners of Bella James can’t wait, they’re expanding their online business and seeking bailout loans.
“We just changed our whole store from fall to spring so we have all this new inventory,” said Malbini. “So obviously not the best time to close.”
Cody says she wants to hear the governor’s specific guidelines Thursday before considering any changes to the local plan.