Santa Clara County falls to red tier, heralding a long-awaited return to school

STORY BY TOMOKI CHIEN

Santa Clara County has fallen to the red tier of coronavirus restrictions, in a shift that follows a recent trend of falling case rates and subsequent relaxing restrictions across the state.

Starting tomorrow, March 3, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms may reopen for indoor business with capacity limits. Schools that had not reopened prior to moving to the purple tier in November can now offer on-campus learning, and forgo a previous mandate that put reopenings on pause until five days into the red tier.

Both the Mountain View–Los Altos and Palo Alto Unified school districts should begin their optional returns in the coming days.

Travel beyond 120 miles from the home as well as “non-essential” travel continues to be strongly discouraged in the red tier. All outdoor sports competition is allowed irrespective of coronavirus tier.

A full list of allowed operation in the red tier, via San Mateo County:

  • Restaurants indoors (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
  • All retail indoors (max 50% capacity)
  • Shopping centers, swap meets indoors (max 50% capacity, closed common areas, reduced capacity food courts)
  • Personal care services — hair and nail salons, barbershops (open with modifications)
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums (max 25% capacity)
  • Places of worship (max 25% capacity)
  • Movie theaters indoors (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
  • Gyms and fitness centers indoors (max 10% capacity)
  • Family entertainment centers (kart racing, mini-golf, batting cages) outdoors only with modifications

Amusement parks, bars without meal service, bowling alleys, indoor playgrounds, live theater, saunas and steam rooms, nightclubs and festivals are not permitted.

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