reopening the bay area

State Rejects Santa Clara County Bid to Move to Next Reopening Phase: Report

Plan was to allow gyms, nail salons and hair salons to reopen, but the state blocked it

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The state has rejected Santa Clara County's request to move into the next phase of reopening during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report in the Mercury News.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody issued a new order Thursday that would have allowed the reopening of gyms, nail and hair salons, and resume small gatherings with strict guidelines effective July 13.

But the state rejected the county's plan, meaning the county must adhere to the stricter state guidelines.

Hospitalizations and positive cases of COVID-19 have risen in recent weeks in Santa Clara County, but it has had fewer cases per 100,000 residents than any other county in the Bay Area or urban region in California, Cody said Thursday.

"We are at a point in this pandemic where it is crystal clear that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time," Cody said. "And so, we need to adapt to a new way of being, a new way of living that keeps us all safe and allows us to do some of the things that we miss and cherish."

News of the rejection came as confusion lingered over whether restaurants can resume outdoor dining. Over the weekend, agents with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control entered Ladera Grill and other restaurants in Morgan Hill and Gilroy to inform them they were in violation of state guidance on outdoor dining. The establishments were allowed to stay open for the remainder of the night, but had to close the following day or risk being cited, the ABC told them.

The county and state were in talks Monday as business owners waited for clear direction on what they can and cannot do. County official David Campos said he believes restaurants are allowed to conduct outdoor dining because the state did not explicitly prohibit it.

"And so we will continue to say that unless or until the state informs us directly that that's not the case," he said.

Santa Clara County was removed from the state's monitoring list Monday, but it was not clear if that puts the county in position to reapply for those allowances targeted for July 13. Two more Bay Area counties, Contra Costa and Solano, remained on the watch list.

Across the state, coronavirus cases continued to rise, surpassing 271,000 as of Monday morning. California's death toll from the virus also increased to a total of 6,337, according to the state website.

After the state's rejection, the regulations from Santa Clara County's current health order issued on June 5 will remain in place.

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