SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Health officials in Santa Clara County have ordered workplaces to close indoor breakrooms to eating and drinking, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge into the start of 2021.

County health officials said in a statement “the use of employee breakrooms has proven to be one of the most common causes of workplace COVID-19 transmission.”

Under the order, which went into effect on January 1, breakrooms can only be used by employees to use appliances such as coffee makers, refrigerators or microwaves. Breakrooms can also be used alone for other purposes, such as lactation.

Healthcare facilities are exempt. Workplaces that cannot close their breakrooms must apply for an exemption and come up with a safety plan, such as staggering break times, limiting the number of people, increasing ventilation and regular cleaning of surfaces.

Previously, the county urged employers to set up outdoor areas where employees can eat and stay six feet apart, or allow workers to eat in their vehicles.