Santa Clara County’s New Health Order, effective May 19, 2021

Santa Clara County is now in the Yellow Tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.  In connection with moving to a new tier, the Santa Clara County Health Officer issued a new Health Order which requires all businesses in the County to do the following:

  • Consider Moving Activities Outdoors:  All businesses should consider moving operations and activities outdoors, where there is significantly less risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially if patrons are unlikely to be vaccinated.
  • Ascertain Vaccine Status of Personnel[1]: Businesses must ascertain the vaccination status of all personnel.  Until a person’s vaccination status is ascertained, they must be treated as not fully vaccinated.  Personnel who decline to provide vaccination status must also be treated as unvaccinated. 
    • Businesses must complete their initial ascertainment of vaccination status for all personnel by June 1, 2021. 
    • Thereafter, they must obtain updated vaccination status for all personnel who were not fully vaccinated every 14 days. 
    • Businesses must maintain appropriate records to demonstrate compliance with this provision. 
    • Businesses must provide the following document to employees who are not vaccinated  or who decline to provide their vaccination status (whether working onsite or remotely): Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19! poster  
  • Strong Recommendations for Personnel Not Fully Vaccinated: Businesses are urged to (1) prohibit all personnel not fully vaccinated from engaging in any work-related travel, especially travel greater than 150 miles from the county, and (2) require all personnel not fully vaccinated to obtain weekly PCR testing for COVID-19, or daily antigen testing with COVID PCR confirmation of any positives.
  • Mandatory Reporting Regarding Personnel Contracting COVID-19: Businesses must require personnel to immediately alert the business if they test positive for COVID-19 and were present in the workplace either (1) within the 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms or within 10 days after onset of symptoms if they were symptomatic; or (2) within 48 hours prior to the date on which they were tested or within 10 days after the date on which they were tested if they were asymptomatic.  In the event that a business learns that any of its personnel is a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 and was at the workplace in this timeframe, the business is required to report the positive case within 24 hours to the County Public Health Department at
    • Businesses must also comply with all case investigation and contact tracing measures directed by the County, including providing any information requested within the timeframe provided by the County, instructing personnel to follow isolation and quarantine protocols specified by the County, and excluding positive cases and unvaccinated close contacts from the workplace during these isolation and quarantine periods.

The new order also withdraws the following requirements of the previous order:

  • Maximizing telework work is no longer required: Businesses are no longer required to maximize the number of people who work remotely.
  • Submission of Social Distancing Protocols are no longer required: Businesses are no longer required to submit Social Distancing Protocols to the County Public Health Department. However, they must continue to comply with any State rules applicable to their business, including Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards applicable to most businesses.
  • The local Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations has been eliminated: There are no local rules related to capacity. For information on what is allowed in counties in the Yellow Tier, see the State  Blueprint for a Safer Economy and the State’s Industry Guidance to Reduce Risk.

Violation of the Order is punishable by fines, imprisonment or both.

Additional guidance can be found in the County’s FAQ.

[1] “Personnel” means the following individuals who provide goods or services or perform operations associated with a business in the County: employees; contractors and sub-contractors (such as those who sell goods or perform services onsite or who deliver goods for the business); independent contractors (such as “gig workers” who perform work via the business’s application or other online interface); vendors who are permitted to sell goods onsite; volunteers; and other individuals who regularly provide services onsite at the request of the business.

[2] For purposes of this Order, a person is “fully vaccinated” two weeks after completion of the entire recommended series of vaccination (usually one or two doses) with a vaccine authorized to prevent COVID-19 by the federal Food and Drug Administration, including by way of an emergency use authorization. For example, as of the date of issuance of this Order, an individual would be fully vaccinated at least two weeks after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after receiving the single dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.