SAN JOSE (KPIX) — The county that enacted the first stay-at-home order in the Bay Area took a major step in reopening its economy Thursday.
“This marks the end of a phased reopening and the beginning of a new stage,” said Santa Clara County public health officer Dr. Sara Cody. “We need to adapt. This virus has adapted to us and we need to adapt to the virus.”
Instead of naming specific businesses that will be allowed to reopen, Cody announced “risk reduction” measures for all businesses to meet, which include social distancing, wearing masks and capacity limits. The new protocol requires that no more than one employee is allowed per 250 gross square feet and no more than one customer per 150 square feet of open space.
Businesses, including hair and nail salons, will be allowed to reopen July 13 or when the state approves the county’s plan, whichever is later. The county planned to submit its plan to the state on Thursday.
“I’m so happy just to hear a date to get back to work,” said Erica Martin, a stylist at W’s Salon on Santana Row in San Jose.
Martin has been vocal in the community about allowing hair salons to reopen as other neighboring communities gave the industry the green light to get back to business. Stylists and barbers have argued they are trained in strict cleaning and sanitizing protocols as part of their certification process.
Martin said as soon as Cody made her announcement, clients began to call.
“There’s been multiple phone calls of, ‘When can you get me in?'” she said.
Business owners are now required to submit their safety protocol plans to the county, plans which will also be accessible to the public.
“It’s … clear criteria and we are asking businesses to be entrepreneurial, be creative, in meeting those criteria,” said the county’s counsel James Williams.
State orders will always supersede county orders and high-risk businesses such as indoor dining and bars must remain closed.
Martin said the salon she works at is already prepared to welcome back customers. Her salon has partitions, thermometers and liability waivers.
“The guidelines are already protocols we’ve been following as far as cleanliness goes,” Martin said. “I’m going to be wearing a mask and you’re going to be wearing masks, we won’t be having any waiting rooms and we’ll be checking your temperature.”