You know how people were joking that April felt like an entire year? I think that's how December's going to feel.
A day after Governor Newsom warned all regions of the state of California to be prepared to enter a new Shelter-in-Place order once ICU capacity in each area's hospitals dips below 15%, the largest counties in the Bay Area made a joint decision to pull the emergency brake a week early rather than a week late.
This will hurt our already struggling businesses, but it's the right thing to do. Santa Clara County is already dangerously close to maxing out ICU capacity while hospitalizations are still ramping up and the expected surge from Thanksgiving gatherings hasn't even begun. Protecting ICU capacity saves lives from an entire range of preventable deaths, not just from Covid-19.
The new December Shelter-in-Place order will go into effect on Monday, December 7th (technically it starts at 10PM on Sunday).
Here's a summary of what to expect once the order takes effect.
No outdoor dining. Takeout and delivery is OK.
Barbershops, salons, and personal services (i.e. skin care) must close.
Retail will be allowed to operate at 20% of capacity.
Outdoor gyms can continue to operate.
The Farmers' Market is not affected.
Those of you who are keen of eye may notice that retail capacity actually went up from 10% to 20%. Santa Clara County had previously imposed a stricter standard than the state was requiring, but decided to go with the State's guidelines. From what we know of our county's public health department, it's surprising, but not as random as it appears. With no outdoor dining, there's a reduced chance of crowding (and you don't need to take your mask off to shop). For many of our shops, a 10% increase in capacity only means an extra 1 or 2 people are allowed into the shop at the same time.
Retail will still be limited to 10% this weekend though, but you'll have an opportunity to get a last chance outdoor meal, haircut, facial, color, or massage. The earliest the Shelter-in-Place can be lifted will be January 4th, 2021.
The only way that's going to happen is if we all do as epidemiologists have been telling us to do all along. Avoid gatherings with people outside of your household, quarantine if you've been exposed, keep that mask on (noses too please), and do everything you can to stay away from people.
Shutting down too early instead of too late is the best chance of avoiding a protracted shut down. Staying healthy doesn't just mean saving lives. Staying healthy will save jobs and businesses. Please do your part.
This is going to be a very harsh winter for our mom and pops. We need your support more than ever.