On August 31st, as part of the new State of California Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework, barber shops and salons were allowed to resume offering most indoor services. All of our barber shops and salons have followed suit and are now back in service with safety modifications. Some are continuing to offer outdoor haircuts in addition to outdoors services so be sure to ask about that if you're not comfortable with going indoors for a haircut.
As part of the new risk framework, there is also a new system of risk tiers. In Santa Clara County, we've been showing improvement in our infection rates. As a result we've progressed from Tier 1 - Widespread (Purple Tier), which is the worst designation into Tier 2 - Substantial (Red Tier). As a result of our improved numbers businesses are now allowed to do the following:
- All personal care services can now operate indoors (nails, skin care, massage, etc)
- The maximum number of people allowed in retail shops will be relaxed to allow twice as many people as before.
- Gyms and personal training services can operate indoors at 10% capacity.
- Museums are allowed to open at 25% capacity.
Keep in mind that just about all services that you were used to are required to be performed with additional precautions and some services will not be available due to the safety risk that they present. Also Santa Clara County excludes some activities that are allowed in the State of California's guidelines. One notable example is that indoor dining at 25% capacity is not allowed as a Tier 2 activity here.
The Blueprint for a Safer Economy
The new State of California Covid-19 framework replaces the previous County Monitoring List guidelines with revised plan that's simpler and easier to understand. Much of the guidance remains the same, but a few restrictions have been relaxed based on improved understanding of where the real transmission risks lie.
The Blueprint for a Safer Economy is guided by just two numbers:
- Number of new cases per day per 100K people.
- Percent of positive tests returned.
Every week, counties are reassessed and placed into one of four risk tier based on these two metrics and as numbers rise and fall, the kind of activities and how much of those activities are allowed changes. Counties that regress into more severe tiers will have another week to turn things around to avoid having to shut some services down again.
If you like to check numbers, be aware that the numbers used by the Blueprint are different from numbers you'll find on sites like CovidActNow. This is because the Blueprint does not count infections happening in institutions as you're not going to be encountering anyone who's currently serving time when you're booking an outdoor table for dinner.
We're all part of this. If we stop being careful and start making riskier choices, we're going to backslide and it's going to hurt our small businesses. We may have graduated to Tier 2, but only by the slimmest of margins. It would be easy to slip back to Tier 1 very quickly so please please please keep being diligent about wearing a mask around people you do not live with and maintaining social distance.