County of Santa Clara COVID-19 Business Compliance Unit Ensuring Safest Possible Thanksgiving/Black Friday Shopping Weekend with Additional Inspections and Elimination of Grace Period for Fines


November 24, 2020

Santa Clara County, CA – For the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, the County of Santa Clara will enhance COVID-19 Business Compliance efforts to keep the public as safe as possible during the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.  These efforts come in light of significantly increasing COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations, both of which have set records in recent days and are continuing to rise alarmingly.

From Thursday through Sunday of this week, fines issued will not have a grace period and additional compliance staff will be visiting high traffic shopping areas to look out for the public’s safety. Until Thursday, the county has been allowing businesses who corrected their compliance issues to have the fine waived. Additionally, retail businesses must comply with the State’s 10 p.m.- 5 a.m. stay-at-home order. Grocery stores and take-out dining options are exempt from the state’s order.

Areas of focus for the Business Compliance Unit will be updated and posted Social Distancing Protocols and Capacity Limitations as required by the Health Order, proper social distancing and capacity in malls and stores.

Fines can begin at the $250 level and can go into the thousands for offending businesses, and there can be fines for multiple violations.

“We know holiday shopping is critical to our Santa Clara County businesses,” said James R. Williams, County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara. “If people are shopping in person, we want the experience to be as safe as possible for employees and the public.  Given the rising case counts, it is absolutely vital that everyone carefully and rigorously abide by the health orders.”

Currently, grocery stores must limit capacity to 50% and clothing and retails stores (including malls) have a 25% capacity limit.

“The primary issue we’re seeing right now is capacity limits,” said Michael Balliet, Director of Community and Business Engagement for the County of Santa Clara. “Business must maintain set limits inside their stores and strictly enforce face covering and social distancing. Additionally, customers should be looking for the orange checkmark sign in front to ensure a proper business plan has been approved.”

Anyone wishing to report suspected violations can do so at​.

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