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Business community calls on Santa Clara County to ease public health restrictions

Coalition group pushes for resuming indoor dining, according to less-stringent state rules

A group of business leaders are seeking to roll back Santa Clara County's prohibition on indoor dining. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

A coalition of business leaders across Santa Clara County are calling on public health officials to loosen COVID-19 restrictions that they say have crippled local businesses for the last six months.

The group, made up of 15 chambers of commerce and dozens of elected officials and small businesses, is demanding that the county work with the business community to find ways to safely reopen sectors of the economy that have been closed or curtailed during the coronavirus pandemic. The coalition took particular aim at county restrictions that under new state guidelines can now be lifted but remain in effect, such as indoor dining.

At a virtual press conference Monday, Silicon Valley Organization President Matt Mahood said COVID-19 isn't expected to go away any time soon, but keeping a significant part of the economy shut down is not a solution. Small businesses and the working poor simply won't survive the crisis absent county action, Mahood said, and business owners are eager and willing to reopen in a way that is safe.

"At a minimum, the county must clearly communicate how we can find solutions to safely reopen, using evidence-based approaches to reduce the spread of COVID-19," he said.

Last month, California released a new framework for reopening the economy, introducing a color-coded tier system that dictates what activities are allowed. In the early days of the framework, Santa Clara County was initially placed in purple, the worst tier.

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Santa Clara County has since been upgraded to the red tier, allowing for numerous businesses to start limited indoor activities, including restaurants, gyms, nail salons and personal care services. But county health officials have been reluctant to adopt all of the state's guidelines, and are still prohibiting all indoor dining.

In a virtual town hall on Sunday, County Executive Jeff Smith acknowledged that Santa Clara County is taking a more restrictive approach than required by the state, particularly its ban on indoor dining, movie theaters and indoor gatherings. The decision to rescind those rules is made by Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, he said, who has reviewed the scientific literature and determined that indoor dining and gatherings are still too risky.

Several business owners at the press conference insisted that indoor dining and other activities can safely resume if they are given the chance, and that proper ventilation, temperature checks, face masks and Plexiglas dividers can go a long way towards preventing the spread of the virus. Randy Musterer, owner of the company Sushi Confidential, said indoor dining has worked in other places without a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, and that businesses are so desperate to survive that some may go rogue and reopen in spite of county health orders.

"It's going to come down to putting food on the table for the family or filing for bankruptcy and losing everything," Musterer said. "Our restaurants, businesses and employees just want a fighting chance to survive."

Any indoor activity where people aren't wearing face masks -- as is the case in restaurants -- brings greater risk, county officials said in a press release Monday.

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"A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control confirms that eating out is one of the riskiest activities for COVID-19 and according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, adults with COVID-19 are twice as likely to have dined out in the 14 days before becoming sick than those who tested negative," the statement said.

Jacqueline Tran, who owns the business Polished Salon in East San Jose, said the nail and hair salon industries have been hard hit by the public health restrictions and are struggling to survive. Many of the owners and workers are immigrants and are often the sole source of income for their households, yet they have had to face six months of closures during COVID-19. If the prohibitions continue, she urged the county to consider some type of financial relief.

"I really hope and urge the county to please find a plan to reopen safely, or find a plan to support those whose livelihoods are being destroyed," Tran said.

Peter Katz, president and CEO of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, said the stories are similar to what he has been hearing from businesses in Mountain View for months. He said it's been difficult to understand the inconsistencies between state and local public health orders, particularly when the business community isn't included when crafting public health guidelines.

"Our businesses are demonstrating a willingness to follow the rules," Katz said. "The challenge is that the rules keep changing, or that there are rules that seem to apply to one kind of business but not another."

Katz also advocated for some type of financial aid to businesses that will bear the brunt of the county's more restrictive public health order, many of which have "suffered immensely" over the last six months.

Elected officials from Gilroy and San Jose also made a pitch during the press conference for reopening businesses under the state's guidelines. San Jose City Council member Johnny Khamis said cities and counties rely on a robust local economy for their revenue, and that getting people back to work is the only plausible path forward. Government funding to keep businesses afloat won't be enough, he said, particularly when faced with declining tax revenue.

"Government can't be all about saying 'No,' because there is no amount of government-run programs that will help the unemployed stay in their homes," Khamis said.

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Business community calls on Santa Clara County to ease public health restrictions

Coalition group pushes for resuming indoor dining, according to less-stringent state rules

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Sep 14, 2020, 1:30 pm

A coalition of business leaders across Santa Clara County are calling on public health officials to loosen COVID-19 restrictions that they say have crippled local businesses for the last six months.

The group, made up of 15 chambers of commerce and dozens of elected officials and small businesses, is demanding that the county work with the business community to find ways to safely reopen sectors of the economy that have been closed or curtailed during the coronavirus pandemic. The coalition took particular aim at county restrictions that under new state guidelines can now be lifted but remain in effect, such as indoor dining.

At a virtual press conference Monday, Silicon Valley Organization President Matt Mahood said COVID-19 isn't expected to go away any time soon, but keeping a significant part of the economy shut down is not a solution. Small businesses and the working poor simply won't survive the crisis absent county action, Mahood said, and business owners are eager and willing to reopen in a way that is safe.

"At a minimum, the county must clearly communicate how we can find solutions to safely reopen, using evidence-based approaches to reduce the spread of COVID-19," he said.

Last month, California released a new framework for reopening the economy, introducing a color-coded tier system that dictates what activities are allowed. In the early days of the framework, Santa Clara County was initially placed in purple, the worst tier.

Santa Clara County has since been upgraded to the red tier, allowing for numerous businesses to start limited indoor activities, including restaurants, gyms, nail salons and personal care services. But county health officials have been reluctant to adopt all of the state's guidelines, and are still prohibiting all indoor dining.

In a virtual town hall on Sunday, County Executive Jeff Smith acknowledged that Santa Clara County is taking a more restrictive approach than required by the state, particularly its ban on indoor dining, movie theaters and indoor gatherings. The decision to rescind those rules is made by Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, he said, who has reviewed the scientific literature and determined that indoor dining and gatherings are still too risky.

Several business owners at the press conference insisted that indoor dining and other activities can safely resume if they are given the chance, and that proper ventilation, temperature checks, face masks and Plexiglas dividers can go a long way towards preventing the spread of the virus. Randy Musterer, owner of the company Sushi Confidential, said indoor dining has worked in other places without a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, and that businesses are so desperate to survive that some may go rogue and reopen in spite of county health orders.

"It's going to come down to putting food on the table for the family or filing for bankruptcy and losing everything," Musterer said. "Our restaurants, businesses and employees just want a fighting chance to survive."

Any indoor activity where people aren't wearing face masks -- as is the case in restaurants -- brings greater risk, county officials said in a press release Monday.

"A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control confirms that eating out is one of the riskiest activities for COVID-19 and according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, adults with COVID-19 are twice as likely to have dined out in the 14 days before becoming sick than those who tested negative," the statement said.

Jacqueline Tran, who owns the business Polished Salon in East San Jose, said the nail and hair salon industries have been hard hit by the public health restrictions and are struggling to survive. Many of the owners and workers are immigrants and are often the sole source of income for their households, yet they have had to face six months of closures during COVID-19. If the prohibitions continue, she urged the county to consider some type of financial relief.

"I really hope and urge the county to please find a plan to reopen safely, or find a plan to support those whose livelihoods are being destroyed," Tran said.

Peter Katz, president and CEO of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, said the stories are similar to what he has been hearing from businesses in Mountain View for months. He said it's been difficult to understand the inconsistencies between state and local public health orders, particularly when the business community isn't included when crafting public health guidelines.

"Our businesses are demonstrating a willingness to follow the rules," Katz said. "The challenge is that the rules keep changing, or that there are rules that seem to apply to one kind of business but not another."

Katz also advocated for some type of financial aid to businesses that will bear the brunt of the county's more restrictive public health order, many of which have "suffered immensely" over the last six months.

Elected officials from Gilroy and San Jose also made a pitch during the press conference for reopening businesses under the state's guidelines. San Jose City Council member Johnny Khamis said cities and counties rely on a robust local economy for their revenue, and that getting people back to work is the only plausible path forward. Government funding to keep businesses afloat won't be enough, he said, particularly when faced with declining tax revenue.

"Government can't be all about saying 'No,' because there is no amount of government-run programs that will help the unemployed stay in their homes," Khamis said.

Comments

Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2020 at 2:42 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 2:42 pm
4 people like this

Yes, after the CDC just reported that on-site eating at restaurants doubles you chances of getting COVID 19, the "Chambers of Commerce" a private trade group wants to have the county ignore public health risk?

Sorry, the reality is that these businesses should have known, like Donald Trump did, that this was a long term problem.

They relied on false promises that the COVID 19 would have been dealt with in 2 months, it looks more like 2 years.

Fortunately the smoke has cut down infections because people cannot leave home without wearing a smoke mask, and that outdoor dining is shut down.

All the doctors know is once you open the businesses, especially indoors with no ventilation, the COVID 19 will return with more danger.

We cannot stop our improving situation just to put ourselves back to the same danger again.

There needs to be a different path, but no one wants to take it, providing life support for businesses, or putting a complete holiday on all expenses and providing secured food and supply chains. Just like they did in the film "Contagion".


Make smart choices for health and for economy
Registered user
another community
on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:04 pm
Make smart choices for health and for economy, another community
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:04 pm
2 people like this

Yes to everything said by @StevenGoldstein! Of course businesses want to re-open as soon as possible, and we all want them to be able to do so and get back to normal life. However, we’ve seen this movie before: we prematurely re-opened in late spring, which resulted in even worse coronavirus spread and further lengthened the time that we are all shut in and locked down.

Many in the community are hurting from the shutdowns and from coronavirus. We need to weigh everybody’s interest in getting to a longer-term stable situation. Small businesses and the unemployed need to be able to get back to work, students need to be able to get back into schools, and we all need to have reasonable safety from covid. Roller coastering up and down with coronavirus will not achieve these goals.

Let’s do the smart thing for everybody’s health and to get our economy rolling again for good. Our county health officer and department have done a stellar job for our community. If they say to proceed cautiously, let’s do that.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:18 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:18 pm
2 people like this

Here Here!

I cannot argue against anything you said.

I am for trying to get us back to business. Too many people are out of work it is true.

But this problem is above business owners and workers. The virus simply doesn't know about economics or politics, it just wants to thrive and is very good at it.

I pray that we can get a vaccine ASAP and it works and is safe.

Unfortunately we have people trying to make us fight each other too much now. One knew in January, but did not level with us. And now is trying to interfere with science.


Victor Bishop
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:27 pm
Victor Bishop, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:27 pm
6 people like this

The authors of the report state in the report:

“ The findings in this report are subject to at least five limitations. First, the sample included 314 symptomatic patients who actively sought testing during July 1–29, 2020 at 11 health care facilities. Symptomatic adults with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results might have been infected with other respiratory viruses and had similar exposures to persons with cases of such illnesses. Persons who did not respond, or refused to participate, could be systematically different from those who were interviewed for this investigation. Efforts to age- and sex-match participating case-patients and control-participants were not maintained because of participants not meeting the eligibility criteria, refusing to participate, or not responding, and this was accounted for in the analytic approach. Second, unmeasured confounding is possible, such that reported behaviors might represent factors, including concurrently participating in activities where possible exposures could have taken place, that were not included in the analysis or measured in the survey. Of note, the question assessing dining at a restaurant did not distinguish between indoor and outdoor options. In addition, the question about going to a bar or coffee shop did not distinguish between the venues or service delivery methods, which might represent different exposures. Third, adults in the study were from one of 11 participating health care facilities and might not be representative of the United States population. Fourth, participants were aware of their SARS-CoV-2 test results, which could have influenced their responses to questions about community exposures and close contacts. Finally, case or control status might be subject to misclassification because of imperfect sensitivity or specificity of PCR-based testing (9,10).”

And yet for all of Cody’s precautions, the 49ers were allowed to use indoor locker rooms for weeks ( while gyms were closed). Members of different households handled the same ball ( while basketball hoops are being removed to,prevent people playing) and there was no social distancing or mask wearing during practice and the game.

Peter Katz is correct.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:45 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:45 pm
4 people like this

Risky behavior by some does not justify the same or even more risky behavior by others. The Mountain View Chamber of Commence should announce the candidates it endorses for City Council so we know whom to vote AGAINST.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2020 at 4:25 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 4:25 pm
Like this comment

In response to Victor Bishop:

You can try to misinform the public but the conclusion of the report did say:

“"This investigation highlights differences in community and close contact exposures between adults who received a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result and those who received a negative SARS-CoV-2 test result. Continued assessment of various types of activities and exposures as communities, schools, and workplaces reopen is important. EXPOSURES AND ACTIVITIES WHERE MASK USE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING ARE DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN, INCLUDING GOING TO LOCATIONS THAT OFFER ON-SITE EATING AND DRINKING, MIGHT BE IMPORTANT RISK FACTORS FOR SARS-COV-2 INFECTION. IMPLEMENTING SAFE PRACTICES TO REDUCE EXPOSURES TO SARS-COV-2 DURING ON-SITE EATING AND DRINKING SHOULD BE CONSIDERED TO PROTECT CUSTOMERS, EMPLOYEES, AND COMMUNITIES¶¶ AND SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19."

As far as you stated:

“And yet for all of Cody’s precautions, the 49ers were allowed to use indoor locker rooms for weeks ( while gyms were closed).”

That gym was PRIVATE. They do not work out in a PUBLIC gym. The individuals there were being “bubbled” so that they had no contact with anyone, at least that is what is said. Your making a clearly false comparison and you know it. As far as:

“Members of different households handled the same ball ( while basketball hoops are being removed to,prevent people playing) and there was no social distancing or mask wearing during practice and the game.”

Your just trying to make people more angry with false information. What can I say? You are probably a paid “astrofturf” sock puppet and nothing more. You said:

“Peter Katz is correct.”

He did say:

“"Our businesses are demonstrating a willingness to follow the rules," Katz said. "The challenge is that the rules keep changing, or that there are rules that seem to apply to one kind of business but not another."

Yes the “rules” keep changing because new SCIENCE is being determined in a daily basis. If you want to avoid that kind of problem, DO NOT OPEN UP EARLY, WITHOUT PROOF OF SAFETY. When the proof is there that it is safe, then it is time to open.

The BUSINESSES demanded to be opened up with political force prematurely (VIA THE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE) and the BUSINESSES know it. They complain that they succeeded to open up to early and new evidence is proving they caused more problems with the spread of COVID 19. In fact studies like this can be used to hold the business accountable for being a danger to public health. THAT’S WHY YOU ARE SO ANGRY.


Victor Bishop
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2020 at 4:45 pm
Victor Bishop, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 4:45 pm
4 people like this

How is providing the verbatim part of the MMWR paper misinforming the public?


“ That gym was PRIVATE. They do not work out in a PUBLIC gym. The individuals there were being “bubbled” so that they had no contact with anyone, at least that is what is said. Your making a clearly false comparison and you know it. As far as:”

The NHL and NBA are in a bubble. The NFL players are not. They mingle with the public after games/practices.

In another thread
Web Link
Goldstein claimed I was “attacking” him.

What do you call the comment :
“ You are probably a paid “astrofturf” sock puppet and nothing more.”

Goldstein has a problem with people disagreeing with him. Hence th misinformation, twisting what one said, bringing forth spurious arguments and putting words into other people’s mouth..

This has been fun, but I have more important things to do.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2020 at 8:15 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2020 at 8:15 pm
Like this comment

In response to Victor Bishop you said:

“How is providing the verbatim part of the MMWR paper misinforming the public?”

Intentional omission of related information is a misinformation tactic. Using “cherry picked” quotations out of context is misinformation as well, and you know it. As far as:

“ That gym was PRIVATE. They do not work out in a PUBLIC gym. The individuals there were being “bubbled” so that they had no contact with anyone, at least that is what is said. Your making a clearly false comparison and you know it. As far as:”

The NHL and NBA are in a bubble. The NFL players are not. They mingle with the public after games/practices.”

Still it is a PRIVATE gym, it is not open to the public, nor does it operate like any public gym, it is an internal function of the team. It does not sell memberships, rent lockers, or provide public fitness consulting. Again you know this. You said:

“Goldstein claimed I was “attacking” him.”

Yes you did, by constantly using language that is simply nothing but personal attacks which is completely different to :

“What do you call the comment :

“ You are probably a paid “astrofturf” sock puppet and nothing more.”

That is not a personal attack, it is simply an observation of all the activities you have done online. As far as I know it is not a personal attack, it simply is a political practice performed by those with a financial conflict of interest regarding the topic. Everyone knows who I am and that I have no financial interest. BUT you have not disclosed if you do.

“Goldstein has a problem with people disagreeing with him. Hence th misinformation, twisting what one said, bringing forth spurious arguments and putting words into other people’s mouth..”

Instead of discussing the topic, you simply want to “kill the messenger” with any means possible rather than discuss the situation logically. This is a perfect example of a personal attack, by constantly saying negative comments about my personal behaviors. Perfect Donald Trump logic, if you can’t address the problem attack the questioner.


Victor Bishop
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2020 at 7:03 am
Victor Bishop, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2020 at 7:03 am
3 people like this

"Intentional omission of related information is a misinformation tactic. Using “cherry picked” quotations out of context is misinformation as well, and you know it. "

Says the man who selectively copied and pasted a portion of the report, while intentionally omitting related information.

"Still it is a PRIVATE gym, it is not open to the public, nor does it operate like any public gym, it is an internal function of the team. It does not sell memberships, rent lockers, or provide public fitness consulting."

DOes not matter, the county health order applied to all facilities, businesses public or private in the county. I am surprised that you are supporting dangerous activities, like people from different households mingling in the same indoor facility when it was forbidden.

I rest my case against Goldstein.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 15, 2020 at 10:15 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2020 at 10:15 am
Like this comment

Victor,

The Conclusion paragraph speaks for itself. If it is the FINAL paragraph it is the FINAL word. You just are trying to deny that the conclusion is what it is. You are simply trying to attack science, just like Donald Trump did when he visited CA regarding the fires

As far as the PRIVATE gym, it is the same as having your own PRIVATE gym. The PUBLIC business rules do not apply to your PRIVATE gyms at home. That is what the Gym at the team operated is at Levi or any other training facility is. It is their PRIVATE land or PRIVATE home and the order to the PUBLIC spaces simply cannot apply.

In any case, given this new science, there may be more restrictions passed down by the County, or State that may shut down the NFL in CA anyway. In fact the news is not good for the NFL if you read the article found here (Web Link) titled "The Coronavirus Is Revealing Football’s Human Cost
Amid a global pandemic, the NFL’s non-guaranteed contracts force players into a familiar choice: stay safe, or stay on the field."

I actually believe it is unsafe for the NFL to play in any case. It should have been kept shut down. But politics has forced players to work when they have no proven safety, and in fact players ARE getting sick. You can thank Donald Trump for it.


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