County of Santa Clara Public Health Department Announces Revisions to the Health Officer’s Mandatory Directives Amid Steeply Rising Cases and Hospitalizations

November 28, 2020

Changes Are Designed to Slow Increasing Hospitalizations and Ensure Adequate Hospital Capacity for the Community

Santa Clara County, CA – The number of Santa Clara County residents contracting COVID-19 and the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to rise significantly, reaching record levels.  As of today, there were 760 new cases of COVID-19 and 239 COVID-related hospitalizations, 71 of whom are in the ICU.  Both the number of new cases and COVID-related hospitalizations set new records for the highest single-day counts since the outset of the pandemic.  To reduce the likelihood of a surge in hospitalizations that would exceed the capacity of hospitals in the county, the Health Officer is announcing several changes to the Mandatory Directives that accompany the Public Health Officer’s Risk Reduction Order.

The changes include requiring that certain sectors modify their operations to increase safety, reducing the number of persons allowed inside facilities at any one time, and reducing the size of outdoor gatherings.  Further, certain higher risk activities will be prohibited.  The Health Officer is also issuing a Mandatory Directive on Travel, which strongly discourages leisure and non-essential travel, and requires persons entering the county to quarantine for 14 days upon return from travel of more than 150 miles.  

These revised and new Mandatory Directives will take effect on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in effect until at least December 21, 2020 at 5:00 a.m. unless they are extended.

“I am gravely concerned by the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.  “The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity very soon if current trends continue.  During this critical time of surging COVID-19 transmission in our community, I urge every resident to exercise caution and to the greatest extent possible, minimize contact with anyone outside of your immediate household.”

Below are key changes being made to the Mandatory Directives:

Capacity Limits for Indoor Facilities Open to the Public

Stores and other facilities open to the public will be limited to 10% capacity indoors.  Grocery stores, drug stores, and pharmacies, however, will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity indoors to ensure adequate access to food and medicine. 

 All facilities open to the public must establish a “metering system” to ensure that the applicable capacity limits are not exceed by, for example, posting an employee at the facility entrance to track the number of people entering and exiting.

Outdoor Gatherings

Gatherings continue to be allowed only outdoors, with a maximum of 100 people.  The State limits such gatherings to First Amendment protected activities, such as religious services or protests.

Professional, Collegiate, and Youth Sports

All recreational activities that involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one’s household, including all contact sports, will be temporarily prohibited.  People can continue to engage in outdoor athletics and recreation where social distancing can be maintained at all times.


Cardrooms are temporarily closed.

Hotels and Other Lodging Facilities

Hotels and other lodging facilities will be open only for essential travel and for use to facilitate isolation or quarantine.

Quarantine Post-Travel

Leisure and non-essential travel are strongly discouraged, and a new Mandatory Directive on Travel will require people to quarantine for 14 days upon return to the County from travel of more than 150 miles.  Healthcare workers traveling into the county to provide care or patients traveling into the county to obtain treatment will be exempted from this requirement.

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