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Dining outdoors in Santa Clara County? You'll have to keep your mask on for most of the meal

Uploaded: Jul 13, 2020
Starting Monday in Santa Clara County, people dining outdoors at restaurants must keep masks on at all times, except while eating or drinking -- including when they're seated at tables, interacting with waiters and waiting for their food.

These more stringent requirements come with Santa Clara County's new risk reduction order, which takes effect July 13. Previously, diners did not have to wear face coverings while they were seated outdoors at restaurants.


Diners eat at Local Union 271 on University Avenue in Palo Alto on June 27. Photo by Lloyd Lee.

Under specific requirements for outdoor dining, customers must now wear masks while: waiting in line; going to or from their table; ordering food or interacting with a server or staff member; seated at a table and waiting for food, drinks or a check to arrive; after consuming food and drinks; inside a facility to use a restroom or to order/pick up food from a quick-service operation; and "at other times that a facility requires to keep workers and customers safe."

Diners can take their masks off to eat or drink. Only children younger than 2 years old, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable or who are hearing impaired are exempt from the face covering requirements.

Restaurant workers, meanwhile, must wear masks at all times.

"Because they involve handling of consumable items and can also involve significant
interaction between members of different households, outdoor dining facilities, wineries, and tasting rooms must take extra precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for their customers and staff," the county's outdoor dining guidance states.

The new directive is mandatory and failure to follow it is considered a violation of the county's health order.

In order to open for outdoor dining in Santa Clara County, a restaurant has to "allow for the free flow of outdoor air through the entire space," which the county defines as "the seating area must have at least three sides open, with no more than four-foot-high walls that do not impede the free flow of air through the space."

Beyond social distancing requirements and capacity limitations, the county also recommends restaurants take additional steps to further minimize contact between staff and diners. They should consider allowing customers to place their orders before they arrive, limiting the number of staff members who serve individual parties ("consider assigning the same server to each party for the entire experience") and seating parties one at a time, the order states.

Servers are required to wash or sanitize their hands between interacting with each party, the order reads.

Restaurants should "prevent crowding while customers wait for tables," the county order reads. They must require diners to wait for tables in their cars or somewhere outdoors where they can "comfortably" stay 6 feet away from people from other households.


A waitress from Kappo Nami Nami brings food customers dining at tables placed on Castro Street in downtown Mountain View on July 2, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

To maximize spacing between tables, Santa Clara County is encouraging restaurants to expand outdoor seating where possible along rights of way or other outdoor areas as approved by local jurisdictions. (Cities that have closed main thoroughfares to traffic and allowed restaurants to spill into the streets include Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Los Altos, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo and Sunnyvale.

Restaurants also only sell alcohol in conjunction with a meal (which the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control recently defined in great detail — pretzels, pizza bites, calamari, pot stickers, cups of soup and onion rings are among the items the ABC does not consider a "bona fide meal.")

All county businesses were required to submit updated social distancing protocols online by Monday. The protocol must also be distributed to employees and be accessible to county officials enforcing the order.

According to an email the county's Consumer Protection Division sent to a local restaurant owner last week, health inspectors have for several weeks been conducting the "usual" food inspections while also checking to see if food facilities are following the health order.

Santa Clara County has not yet allowed indoor dining to resume, though neighboring San Mateo County has -- though on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered restaurants statewide to cease indoor operations.

Food facilities — which include restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks, catering businesses, convenience stores and other facilities that store, package, prepare, serve, and sell food with a valid permit from the Department of Environmental Health — must also adhere to specific mandates under the county's order.

"While these businesses are an essential link in society's food supply chain, they can also pose significant risks to public health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic," the directive for food facilities reads. "Because they involve food-handling and can also involve significant interaction between members of different households and between staff and the public, food facilities must take extra precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for their customers and staff."

While outdoor tasting rooms and wineries are allowed to reopen under the order, bars, breweries, brewpubs, pubs, distilleries and clubs that do not themselves provide permitted sit-down meal service in Santa Clara County must remain closed for both indoor and outdoor service (though they may sell retail products for takeout only).
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Comments

 +   10 people like this
Posted by Stay Safe...Eat At Home, a resident of Gemello,
on Jul 13, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Does one have to put one's face mask back on upon taking a sip of beverage and/or after placing food in one's mouth and chewing?

If so, this is ridiculous and the restaurants should remain closed.

Is the Heimlich Maneuver also outlawed in the event of someone choking?

Coughing while talking over breakfast/lunch/dinner at a restaurant should also be outlawed if a face mask is not being worn at the table.

1-4 persons at best at a sushi bar given seat spacing protocols.

Why even bother going out to dine?

Learn to cook at home and avoid the hazards of Covid-19.

Only the dumb Millennials are being drawn to mass gatherings as reported by the various states where the coronavirus is skyrocketing.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 13, 2020 at 1:24 pm

Outside dining is very pleasant at present particularly in the closed off streets.

Once October comes, it won't be such a pleasant thing to do.

With the present warning that these restrictions will remain in place for a very long time with no added relaxations, enjoy it while you can, because come November we will be forced to eat at home once again.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Let’s get used to wearing masks, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 13, 2020 at 2:33 pm

The mask restriction is important at cafes where people can much longer than at restaurants. Some want to sit there with a cup of coffee for hours, and sometimes meeting with people outside their household. "sometimes even dating.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by John Richard, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 13, 2020 at 4:08 pm

Eat at home you really dont know who's preparing your mesls anyway. Why risk it .Prepare your own meals now there telling us how to eat drink and talk oh!You cant sing in a church either!!! Where are our rights!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by educated foodie , a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 13, 2020 at 5:06 pm

No kids in schools inside or out then no diners inside or out .


 +   4 people like this
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:54 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

I find it rediculous that it took this long for the restaurants to understand these rules.

They all bought the idea that all they had to do is get tables placed on streets and that was enough.

And now they are going to complain that these rules are too strict on them.

But being a restaurant is a privilege because it is a licensed business.

I strongly urge if you are able to, take pictures of these places on the street and confirm if the rules are being followed and report them to the proper authorities to protect the public health.

Since they are outdoors, there is no "privacy" they are in the public.

Just don't be confrontational, just take the pictures from a descent distance, most cameras have high enough resolution to be able to zoom and demonstrate distance scale accurately. Especially if there is a table in the shot that can be a measure of distance.

TIME to get this situation under control again.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Jean, a resident of Professorville,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 10:34 am

Why isn't anyone questioning the media's reporting of rising case numbers? More people are being tested, so of course the numbers are rising. More importantly, the CDC changed the definition of "case" to include "probable cases," which doesn't even require a positive lab result. This information is on their website. Why aren't we questioning this "spike" in "cases," and why are we just believing everything the media and government feeds us?


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 1:32 pm

I sincerely hope, Mr. Business Man, that you are not advocating people randomly taking pictures of me sitting at a table enjoying a meal with my family. What gives anyone the right to do that then send it in to some government agency to report me? You say it is in a public setting so it is fair game, I beg to differ on whether it is something that should be done on an ethical and pleasant level although I have no idea of the legality of it.

A few years ago I was in Europe and taking a picture of a view in which there happened to be some children with a teacher in the foreground. All that could be seen was the backs of heads, but the teacher came and told me that it was illegal to take pictures of children in that country and demanded I delete my picture. I have no idea if what that teacher said was true, but I apologized and deleted my picture. Since then, I have been extremely careful about getting people in my pictures and I certainly don't intend any of them to be used to be sent to some government agency.

The fact that we can now take pictures and with a few clicks they are published on a media which can be viewed anywhere in the world is a big problem. Taking pictures of people without their permission is something that we must think twice about.


 +   13 people like this
Posted by Masks iffy, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm

REALLY interesting article on Association of American Physicians and Surgeons on the efficacy of masks. [Portion removed.]

Web Link

No one wants to face the facts of this virus. It is real. It is scary. It ISNT going away. SIP will not make it go away. A vaccine will not make it go away. Wearing useless masks won't make it go away. The truth is that we are all stuck with this. Some will get sick. Some will get hospitalized. Some will die. There's no sugar coating it, it is horrible.

But the positive is that it's a VERY VERY small percentage. We HAVE to get back to living life, school, work. We cannot continue this lockdown


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Ignore TBM, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 2:28 pm

Resident-- if you have been reading the MV voice you will see the business man popping up on all kinds of threads involving COVID 19 with hair brained comments and threats.
He claims to be a government IT person, but who knows...

In the past he has threatened to trigger forensic audits of SCC restaurants because he claimed that they were not following the rules. He has also claimed the each person going to dine outside had to fill out an affidavit and that affidavit had to be verified on the spot by a government person.

He now is threatening to take pictures of diners on Castro street and turn those pictures over to the authorities so that restaurants would be shut down and workers would be put out of work.

Ignore him.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 2:53 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

I believe that even I have privacy rights and specifically request that the Palo Alto Weekly registered user known as “ The Business Man" NOT take my picture.
Thank you.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:07 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, you said:

“I sincerely hope, Mr. Business Man, that you are not advocating people randomly taking pictures of me sitting at a table enjoying a meal with my family. What gives anyone the right to do that then send it in to some government agency to report me? You say it is in a public setting so it is fair game, I beg to differ on whether it is something that should be done on an ethical and pleasant level although I have no idea of the legality of it."

In this country if your in public you have the protection of your image or likeness to be used in a commercial way, that requires a “release". But for personal or in this case public services, there is no requirement in the state or country. You are simply fair game This also applies to the poster named Mark Weiss that said:

“I believe that even I have privacy rights and specifically request that the Palo Alto Weekly registered user known as “ The Business Man" NOT take my picture."

As long as you are wearing a mask the proper way you will not be photographed. These people are public safety risks because they clearly do not want to follow the SCC standards regarding wearing masks. I am justifiably concerned regarding them because they are potential “Costco Kens" referring to the story here (Web Link).

Resident did say this:

“The fact that we can now take pictures and with a few clicks they are published on a media which can be viewed anywhere in the world is a big problem. Taking pictures of people without their permission is something that we must think twice about."

What you are really trying to do is prevent poor behavior or actions being caught in public from being shared to others, like “Costco Ken" and the ramifications that results, he lost his job for his poor judgment.

In response to Ignore TBM you said:

“In the past he has threatened to trigger forensic audits of SCC restaurants because he claimed that they were not following the rules. He has also claimed the each person going to dine outside had to fill out an affidavit and that affidavit had to be verified on the spot by a government person."

In fact now the current order does require that a restaurant does keep a contact tracing record so as to provide the SCC CPH a means of contacting those that were potentially infected by another person in proximity and in the time frame of airborne infection. You said:

“He now is threatening to take pictures of diners on Castro street and turn those pictures over to the authorities so that restaurants would be shut down and workers would be put out of work.

Ignore him."

Again if these businesses refuse to follow the rules, their licenses which are privileges are subject to fines, suspension or revocation. I strongly urge the restaurants to follow the orders of the SCC DPH requirements they signed in order to be in business.

Given that now there is evidence that one that was sick with COVID 19 can get sick again from the same disease, the report is titled “My patient caught Covid-19 twice. So long to herd immunity hopes?" found here “ (Web Link).

The situation is getting even more out of control due to the actions of these people, I wish they could be held responsible for their intentional actions.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by TBM Is Spot On, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:34 pm

If there wasn't any truth to what TBM is conveying, then the State of California would not be re-initiating shutdowns of businesses that potentially spread Covid-19.

There's no need to be as stupid (aka ignorant) as the evangelicals, conservatives and red-state mentalities when it comes to ensuring public health.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Ignore TBM, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:50 pm

The business man says:
“In fact now the current order does require that a restaurant does keep a contact tracing record so as to provide the SCC CPH a means of contacting those that were potentially infected by another person in proximity and in the time frame of airborne infection. “

Nothing in the new order mandating any kind of contact tracing records. See the order below
Web Link

Why does the business man want to drive local restaurant out of business?

TBM is spot on ( aka TBM)- the businesses that are being shutdown are indoor businesses, we are talking about outdoor dining.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by I dined, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:56 pm

I had lunch today at bushido on Castro Street. The restaurant did not require a contact tracing record from me or any of the other drivers. Neither did agave, ramen izekaya yugen, Asian box or any other of the places nearby.I will call your bluff, businessman - call the county, report the restaurants and close them down.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by I dined, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:56 pm

I had lunch today at bushido on Castro Street. The restaurant did not require a contact tracing record from me or any of the other drivers. Neither did agave, ramen izekaya yugen, Asian box or any other of the places nearby.I will call your bluff, businessman - call the county, report the restaurants and close them down.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by I dined, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:56 pm

I had lunch today at bushido on Castro Street. The restaurant did not require a contact tracing record from me or any of the other drivers. Neither did agave, ramen izekaya yugen, Asian box or any other of the places nearby.I will call your bluff, businessman - call the county, report the restaurants and close them down.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 5:33 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Ignore TBM, you said:

“Nothing in the new order mandating any kind of contact tracing records. See the order below"

What you fail to realize is that the County is far behind in documentation in fact this document clearly stated:

“For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics, please see the FAQ page. Please note that this Directive may be updated. For up-to-date information on the Health Officer Order, visit the County Public Health Department's website at www.sccgov.org/coronavirus."

It appears that these pages are updating almost hourly at this time. So you may be technically right regarding contact tracing, but that doesn't mean it is not a proper action given that COVID is still infecting more people in Santa Clara County. I have a record showing the content of the Santa Clara County information is changing very quickly. So you just got the latest update. If the increasing rate of infection continues, this will be the only item to be changeable which means it will be shut down. You said:

“Why does the business man want to drive local restaurant out of business?"

I DO NOT WANT THAT TO HAPPEN. BUT IF THESE BUSINESSES CONTRIBUTE TO MORE PEOPLE GETTING SICK, IT WILL BE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS ACTION. NOT ME.

The reality is that these businesses are taking risks with other peoples' health. All I am trying to do is prevent people suffering either disability or death from being infected from COVID.

You are trying to redirect anger from the real cause of the problem which is COVID to satisfy your need to find a target you can actually take your anger out on.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Ignore TBM, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 5:51 pm

"So you may be technically right regarding contact tracing, but that doesn't mean it is not a proper action given that COVID is still infecting more people in Santa Clara County."

Great, the business man, so you admit that your comment:
"In fact now the current order does require that a restaurant does keep a contact tracing record so as to provide the SCC CPH a means of contacting those that were potentially infected by another person in proximity and in the time frame of airborne infection. "

is an out and out fabrication with no basis in fact. Like your older statements about affidavits-- pure make believe.

"but that doesn't mean it is not a proper action given that COVID is still infecting more people in Santa Clara County."
What it means is that it is not part of the order that I linked to which went into effect 0n 7/1/3

This proves that anything you say needs to be taken with a large grain of salt.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 6:04 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Ignore TBM or He Embarrased Himself, or He is Wrong:

Instead of acting to prevent more disability and death, which is the proper target, what are you doing?

You are attacking anyone trying to prevent it. WHY?

Because you have no answers do you. So you use the approach that if I don't have a good plan, attack everyone else for not being PERFECT.

To you if it isn't perfect, you can't swallow it.

Al you want to do is get more people sick, in order to satisfy your selfish interests.

I am snot going to watch the train wreck, but trying to put on some brakes. Your approach is to pour on the accelerator.

Who should people listen to in this comparison?

The readers, make up your own mind.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Ignore TBM, a resident of Castro City,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 6:12 pm

"Instead of acting to prevent more disability and death, which is the proper target, what are you doing?You are attacking anyone trying to prevent it. WHY?"

I am just calling you out when you state falsehoods and the claim that they are part of the county guidelines.

You made this statement (and not the first time you made a statement like this):
"“In fact now the current order does require that a restaurant does keep a contact tracing record so as to provide the SCC CPH a means of contacting those that were potentially infected by another person in proximity and in the time frame of airborne infection. “

and then admitted that it wasn ot part of the county order.

End of story. Rest of your diatribe--ignored.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:43 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Everybody wants to make Either Gavin Newsom or me a SCAPEGOAT.

NO one wants to accept reality.

You all have your opinions, you have the right to express them.

But many of you are acting like Costco Ken, you want to take out your anger against the easiest targets you can find and not the REAL problem. The fact that COVID is beating us.

I used to play a game called Plague Inc, and the objective was to kill all people on earth. I don't play it anymore because reality changed my perspective. I just learned that there is good evidence that you can get COVID 19 again after recovery.

With all the PROMISES of a medication or a vaccine, not one exists yet. This is the same problem that got Theranos is so much trouble. They made promises they couldn't keep.

The "FAKE" it until you "MAKE" it idea is nothing but a disaster when it comes to medical issues. These people are going to wind up creating too much false hopes. WHY?

Because once reality hits and the people know there is no light at the end of the tunnel instead it is the light of an oncoming train on the same track, all you know what will happen.

Which is scaring our social stratification structure leadership like nothing else.

So they attack and attack those they find a good target.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Diane, a resident of another community,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Why is it that MV Voice always manages to leave out Sunnyvale as one of the neighboring cities with their downtown street closed to traffic so restaurants can expand their outdoor seating? Historic Murphy St has been open to pedestrians only 24/7 for several weeks and allows alcohol to be served while dining. Their are several excellent restaurants and the atmosphere is low key while sitting under the lovely tree-lined Murphy street.

I also noticed that a number of restaurants on Castro St are not maintaining the 6 ft minimum distance requirement between all the tables. Many are as close as 3 ft apart!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 4:24 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

By the way

Santa Clara County is back on the Governors COVID Watchlist as of yesterday


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Palo Alto science believer, a resident of another community,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:10 am

As to the wild statement that there are more cases because there is more testing " it is wrong to say that testing is the only reason why cases are increasing in the U.S. On the contrary, data from some of the places being hardest hit shows that the case numbers are outpacing any increases in testing, since the percentage of positive tests is climbing " sometimes dramatically so.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 1:29 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

This situation is getting worse by the day:

Let's address the Moderna vaccine story. It was a test on 45 healthy people and they suffered a variety of symptoms after receiving the vaccine. Yes there is an “antibody" response but the report shows they never were exposed to COVID. Thus they are not PROVEN to be immune to COVID. The report is in many ways misleading by the methodology and the results.

Next, the CDC is now being bypassed regarding the COVID data and treatment by the White House. This means that a political office, the Health and Human Services will distribute information it sees fit. This is VERY concerning because the evidence of the current surge in infections shows no signs of reduction.

Next, the marketing of PHRMA to claim it is making progress on COVID where there is NO EVIDENCE of this actually happening is scary. There is NO medication that actually is designed to address COVID, people are just trying out and using medicines that are only thought to be effective, but no proof of effectivity has been produced.

Finally, the idea that Business and the Government is acting on wishful or best case information and not addressing the worst case means we are all at risk. There has been no scientific proof that we have an effective vaccine or medication that actually DOES treat COVID. WHY?

Because the “RULING CLASS" of the country is terrified with the idea that if the people realize how dangerous and out of control the COVID is the increased risk of loss of their CONTROL over the people will be. Imagine if all the people realize that these systems are all failing them? The people will revolt in such a number that the Business and Governments will collapse.

This is why you have so many people trying to attack anyone demonstrating that the situation is NOT improving, it is in fact getting WORSE.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Another Bob, a resident of Community Center,
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:47 pm

Another Bob is a registered user.

The City of Palo Alto covid webpage puts the mask issue in human, not legalistic, terms:

"Spread kindness, not the virus. Wear a face covering."


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