reopening the bay area

Santa Clara County Working With Businesses Allowed to Reopen Monday

Hair salons, barber shops and retail stores were allowed to resume indoor operations Monday in Santa Clara County while many other business sectors remain shut down due to the novel coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that state health officials gave a green light to hair salons and barbershops to reopen indoors with modifications statewide, regardless of the virus' rate of spread in certain counties.

Santa Clara County is one of 38 counties in the state's highest tier of viral spread due to a case rate per 100,000 residents of 8.6.

Counties must have fewer than seven new cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate below 8% to move out of the "Widespread" infection risk tier.

Many businesses remain closed in Santa Clara County, however, and are still struggling financially or may be unclear about the reopening guidelines in their specific industry, according to county officials.

County spokeswoman Betty Duong said the county is working with business owners to save small businesses and put out clear health guidelines for industries that are allowed to reopen in some form.

"We take an education-first approach," Duong said. "We know that businesses are struggling during this time. We can't control exactly what (COVID-19) will do."

Yuliya Vasudev, a sales executive with the San Jose-based catering company Tony Caters, said the company is one of many in the hospitality industry that has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue since the start of the pandemic, which scuttled large events. 

"There's nothing coming on the books for even the next year or next half of a year," she said. 

Vasudev said the company has pivoted to selling cooking ingredient kits to virtual event attendees. 

Tony Caters also plans to partner with local companies seeking to send a holiday meal kit to their employees in lieu of holding a traditional holiday party.

Hospitality industry leaders have dealt with the pandemic by collaborating, Vasudev said, and strategically planning for what public events will look like when the pandemic wanes. 

“It's been a hard time for our industry but it's been amazing to see how supportive the community has been," she said. "And instead of competing with each other, we're now working together and trying to see how we can safely start doing events."

A full list of industries that are allowed to operate in Santa Clara County can be found at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.

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