Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations

PDF: | English | Chinese | Spanish | Vietnamese | Tagalog |

*Please confirm that your facility may open under the State Order. Where there is a difference between the local County Order and the State Order, the more restrictive order must be followed. The State also has specific guidance for certain facilities that must be followed in addition to this mandatory directive.*

Information on the State’s Order and State guidance is available at

Issued: November 15, 2020
Last Revised and Effective: March 24, 2021

All businesses, as that term is defined in the County Health Officer’s Revised Risk Reduction Order issued on October 5, 2020 (“Revised Risk Reduction Order”), including any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entity, must follow the mandatory requirements in this Directive and any other applicable County Health Officer Directive, the Revised Risk Reduction Order, the applicable restrictions under the State Order and Blueprint, the State’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance documents, and any applicable health and safety regulations.  Where there is a difference between these rules, the most restrictive rule must be followed.

The State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy ("Blueprint") imposes capacity limitations on many industries, requiring them to limit the number of people inside their facilities to a percentage of their normal maximum occupancy.  To provide clarity around capacity limitations and to assist with the implementation of the State’s requirements, this Directive establishes rules for applying and calculating capacity limitations and for posting capacity-related signage.  

This Directive is mandatory, and failure to follow it is a violation of the Health Officer’s Order issued on October 5, 2020 (“Order”).

Capacity Limitation Requirements

  1. Ensure Six-Foot Distancing
    1. Except as otherwise provided in State guidance, all businesses must ensure that everyone inside their facilities can easily maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from everyone not in their household.
  2. Determine Baseline Maximum Occupancy
    1. All businesses must determine the Baseline Maximum Occupancy for every room/area in their facility that does not meet the State Public Health Officer’s definition of an outdoor space, available here.
      1. Note: The Baseline Maximum Occupancy represents the maximum number of people allowed in a room/area before any Blueprint capacity limitations are applied. If the business is subject to a Blueprint capacity limitation, the actual number of people allowed in the room/area will be lower than the Baseline Maximum Occupancy.
    2. To determine Baseline Maximum Occupancy:
      1. If the Fire Marshal has determined a normal maximum occupancy for a room/area, that number is the Baseline Maximum Occupancy for the room/area.
      2. If the Fire Marshal has not determined a normal maximum occupancy for a room/area, the business must calculate the Baseline Maximum Occupancy of the room/area using a ratio of 1 person per 75 gross square feet of space open to the public.
    3. Businesses must keep a written record of the Baseline Maximum Occupancy for every indoor room/area. Businesses must immediately provide this written record to an Enforcement Officer upon request.
    4. Businesses must follow any further instructions on calculating Baseline Maximum Occupancy listed at
  3. Follow All Applicable State Blueprint Capacity Limitations
    1. All businesses must comply with any applicable capacity limitations imposed by the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. If more than one Blueprint capacity limitation applies to a particular business facility, the strictest capacity limitation must be followed.
    2. If a business is not subject to any Blueprint capacity limitations, it must still ensure that no room/area in the business’s facility exceeds its Baseline Maximum Occupancy.
  4. Applicability of Blueprint Capacity Limitations
    1. Blueprint capacity limitations apply to every indoor room or area in a facility that members of the public visit in order to engage in activities subject to the State’s COVID-19 rules (not including, for example, hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms).  Rooms or areas that are subject to Blueprint capacity limitations are considered “capacity-limited rooms/areas.”
    2. Blueprint capacity limitations apply on a room-by-room or area-by-area basis, not on a facility-wide basis. A business must ensure that each capacity-limited room/area’s specific Reduced Maximum Capacity is not exceeded.
      1. Example: A business is subject to a capacity limitation under the State’s Blueprint. The business’s facility has two rooms, Room A and Room B.  Room A has a Reduced Maximum Capacity of 25, and Room B has a Reduced Maximum Capacity of 10.  The business must follow the Reduced Maximum Capacity for each room separately and may not allow more than 25 people into Room A or more than 10 people into Room B, even if the business’s total capacity of 35 is not exceeded. 
    3. A room/area’s Reduced Maximum Capacity sets the maximum number of people, including both members of the public and personnel, who may be present in that room/area at one time.
  1. Calculating Reduced Maximum Capacity
    1. All businesses must calculate the Reduced Maximum Capacity for each indoor capacity-limited room/area in that facility.
    2. To calculate the Reduced Maximum Capacity for capacity-limited room/areas, businesses must apply the applicable Blueprint capacity limitation (for example, 25%) to the room/area’s Baseline Maximum Occupancy.
    3. Businesses must follow any further instructions on calculating Reduced Maximum Capacity listed at
  2. Reduced Maximum Capacity Signage
    1. Reduced Maximum Capacity signs must be posted for each capacity-limited room/area that is subject to a Blueprint capacity limitation.
    2. Each sign must clearly state the maximum number of people who may be inside that particular capacity-limited room/area at the same time under current Blueprint capacity limitations.  A template of the Reduced Maximum Capacity sign is available here.
    3. Each capacity-limited room/area must have one Reduced Maximum Capacity sign posted at each entrance.  The signs must be clearly visible to anyone entering the room.
    4. Reduced Maximum Capacity signs must be updated to reflect any changes in the allowable capacity.

Stay Informed

For instructions and resources related to capacity limitations (including assistance in calculating capacity limitations and completing Reduced Maximum Capacity signage), please visit  Please note that this Directive may be updated.  For up-to-date information on the Health Officer Order, visit the County Public Health Department’s website at

©2021 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.