February 25, 2021

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Emergency Operations Center County of Santa Clara

Public Health Department Announces Major Changes in Santa Clara County Health Order Directives
Changes effective tomorrow will relax restrictions on outdoor gatherings and youth activities; additional changes will take effect upon entry into the State’s Red Tier, including reopening indoor gatherings and indoor dining
Santa Clara County, Calif. – With the continued progress in vaccinations and improving COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations, the County of Santa Clara Health Officer announced today several changes in local Health Directives effective tomorrow. In addition, the Public Health Department also announced that it will be making significant changes to local Health Directives effective as soon as the County enters into the State’s “Red Tier,” which could occur as soon as Wednesday, March 3rd.

“With vaccinations now reaching more broadly into the community, including over half of those age 65 and older, we are making significant progress in protecting our most vulnerable community members,” said Dr. Sara Cody, County Health Officer. “As things improve, it is still important for everyone to continue to practice basic prevention measures: face coverings, social distancing, and doing as much activity as possible outdoors.”

The changes to the local directives also minimize the number of businesses and activities subject to overlapping requirements from the County and the State. 

The following changes are effective, Friday, February 26th:

  • The County’s Mandatory Directive for Schools has been converted to operational guidance to augment the requirements put in place by the State. Schools remain subject to the State’s Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools and are also encouraged to follow the County’s Guidance for Schools.
  • The Health Officer has issued a new Mandatory Directive for Case Reporting by K-12 Schools, Youth Athletic Programs, and Other Youth Programs. This new directive preserves the requirement that any program with one or more youth participants to report immediately to the County Public Health Department if any program participant tests positive for COVID-19.
  • The rules for outdoor gatherings in the Mandatory Directive for Gatherings have been relaxed in light of declining case rates and because outdoor activities have a lower risk of spread than indoor activities.
  • The Health Officer still strongly recommends that everyone wear a face covering at all times at outdoor gatherings, but face coverings are required outdoors only if within 6 feet of someone who is not a member of your household.
  • The Health Officer still strongly recommends that everyone maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from anyone who is not a member of their household at outdoor gatherings, but it is not required.
  • People are allowed to sing at outdoor gatherings without a face covering, provided that they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone who is not a member of their household.
  • Indoor gatherings of any kind remain prohibited until the county enters the State’s Red Tier.
In addition, as soon as Santa Clara County is placed into the State’s “Red Tier,” which may occur as soon as Wednesday, March 3rd, the County will be making further changes to its local Health Directives to allow indoor activities authorized under the Red Tier, including gatherings and indoor dining, to resume in accordance with State and local capacity limits and safety protocols. For information on what the State allows in the Red Tier, please visit
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