Northern California Counties Begin to Loosen Restrictions

San Francisco
Nicholas Cole/Flickr

Six counties in California’s Bay Area are gearing up to relax restrictions, beginning Monday, May 4.

While a general stay-at-home order has been extended for the entirety of May, some restrictions will be lifted in the counties Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

“All construction activities, certain businesses that operate primarily outdoors, and some outdoor activities will be allowed to resume with specific conditions,” the joint order issued by health directors in the counties reads.

Those outdoor businesses and activities include plant nurseries, car washes, flea markets, golf courses, and skateboard parks.

“Outdoor facilities where social distancing is possible would be allowed to reopen,” Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams said.

High contact sports, or those that required shared equipment or involve “high-touch surfaces,” will not be permitted.

Playgrounds, gyms, polls, and spas will remain closed under the relaxed restrictions:

According to ABC 7, “some” childcare facilities and summer camps will be permitted to reopen as long as they abide by rules limiting the number of groups to 12:

Some childcare facilities, recreational facilities and summer camps will also be allowed to reopen as long as they are limited to small groups of 12 children. However, California state guidelines still limit childcare to only the children of essential workers, and those stricter state guidelines take precedent over the augmented local restrictions, Williams said.

All real estate transactions and residential moves will also be allowed to resume, though limitations on open houses and in-person home viewings continue.

“This kind of movement today is going to give the general public some hope and a shot in the arm in terms of morale to keep doing the good work that they’ve been doing,” said Santa Clara County Supevisor Dave Cortese.

Santa Clara County’s public health officer, Dr. Sara Cody, said there is no firm timeline on the restrictions and added that they will likely need protections in place “for a long, long time.”

The regional public health officials also listed the data points they are reviewing to make these decisions, many of which line up with the basic guidelines outlined by the White House. Those include a decrease in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, an adequate stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE), and testing.

The news comes as California Gov. Newsom (D) reverses course, with recent reports indicating that the governor plans to close all beaches and parks, effective May 1:


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