The rush was on Sunday night for out-of-town travelers to get back home to Santa Clara County as a new mandatory travel directive went into effect at midnight.
The order requires that travelers arriving in the county from more than 150 miles away quarantine for two weeks. But how will the county enforce such a broad order?
Airports are going to be a key component of the new order, as it will be up to them to post signs and educate passengers about the new requirement. Passengers will be given a written copy of the directive upon landing.
As people returned to Santa Clara County after Thanksgiving holiday travel, for some, getting home seemed a little more urgent because the new quarantine order applies to people who have traveled more than 150 miles from the county.
“It’s going to be tough on folks, I hope it’s a short-term situation and I hope it’s worth it’s weight,” said Vincent Blair of Santa Clara County.
There are some exceptions, such as for people who perform an essential government function. But so far, it appears the county will not be tracking whether people actually quarantine and will instead notify travelers of the policy.
Some passengers who need to travel for work wonder what impact the order will have.
“It’s scary,” said Jacob G. of Los Angeles. “It was more crowded today, and I was on a business trip but I needed to do it.”
For people who do head to the airport, there will be signs posted reminding people to quarantine for two weeks.
“We’re requiring transit facilities such as airports and train stations to provide quarantine information,” said James Williams, Santa Clara County counsel. “So they know upon arrival, and we publicize that new requirement.”
With regular hospital beds in the county expected to fill up by the third week of December, the county is also cracking down on businesses, issuing at least 75 fines for COVID violations during the Thanksgiving weekend. Most of the violations were for failing to submit a revised COVID-19 business plan. This time, there was no grace period.
The new quarantine order impacts not just people living in Santa Clara County, but anyone visiting the county from more than 150 miles away.