Santa Clara County Moving into Orange Tier of State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy

March 23, 2021

Declining Cases and Hospitalizations are a Hopeful Sign; Progress on Vaccinations Continues Despite Supply Challenges

Santa Clara County, Calif. – The State of California announced today that the County of Santa Clara has met the requirements to move into the Orange Tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. As with the shift to the Red Tier on March 3, the County will continue to align with the State’s framework for Orange Tier activities. This allows Orange Tier activities to resume, effective Wednesday, March 24. However, many of these activities remain very high risk even though they are now allowed.

The County’s October 5th Risk Reduction Order, which requires everyone to follow all State orders and guidance, maintain distance, and wear face coverings as much as possible, remains in effect. The Order also requires all businesses and other entities to maximize telework, post a Social Distancing Protocol outlining specific COVID-19 safety plans, and promptly report any cases to the Public Health Department.

“Advancement to the Orange Tier reflects the patience and persistence of the whole community in Santa Clara County. To continue to prevent cases and resultant hospitalizations and deaths, we must continue to wear masks, social distance, stay outdoors as much as possible, and get vaccinated when it’s our turn,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of Public Health for the County of Santa Clara. “We are close to a significant increase in vaccine supplies, but until those doses are in arms, we must protect each other against another surge.”

The shift to the Orange Tier also comes as the County continues to make progress on vaccinations despite supply challenges that have created challenging conditions for vaccine providers across the county in ensuring an equitable and efficient vaccine rollout. “We face many challenges because of vaccine scarcity, but we will soon have much greater supply of vaccines coming our way,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that our community has access to the vaccines as quickly and conveniently as possible, and we continue to invest in expansive outreach efforts in our hardest hit communities.”

As we wait for the entire community to have access to vaccines, the County urges everyone to remember that indoor activities are much higher risk than outdoor activities and to take every step to reduce risk as much as possible. This is especially critical given the recent detection of new cases of concerning variants in Santa Clara County. To keep yourself, your family, your friends and neighbors, and our broader community safe, follow these core principles:

  1. Stay outdoors. Outdoor activities are far safer than indoor ones. 
  2. Stay masked. Consistent use of face coverings both indoors and outdoors, especially double-masking, is very effective at preventing spread of the coronavirus.
  3. Maintain at least 6-foot distance from others. Social distancing from those who do not live with you is effective at keeping the coronavirus away.
  4. Avoid crowds. The fewer people you encounter and the fewer interactions you have, the lower the chance the virus will spread.
  5. Get vaccinated when it is your turn.  All vaccines authorized by the FDA for emergency use work well and will help keep you, your family, and your friends safe.

The following changes are effective, Wednesday, March 24:

  • All activities authorized under the State’s Orange Tier, including indoor dining, can resume in accordance with State capacity limits and safety protocols, including:
    • Indoor dining at maximum 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer;
    • Retail stores indoors with modifications;
    • Gyms and fitness centers indoors at maximum 25% capacity, with indoor pools open
    • Movie theaters at maximum 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
    • Family entertainment centers indoors at maximum 25% capacity with modifications for areas of increased risk of proximity; and
    • Zoos, museums, and aquariums at 50% maximum indoor capacity.

For more information on what the State allows in the Orange Tier, please visit

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