Health experts in 2 Bay Area counties agree coronavirus indicators are worsening

Santa Clara County officials Tuesday announced things have been "straightened out" with the state and a resubmitted request for a variance has been approved by state officials.

The move clears the South Bay to move forward with plans to reopen more businesses on Monday, July 13.

"Getting a variance granted does not mean the virus doing better or disease doing better. As a matter of fact, it's actually doing worse," said Dr. Jeff Smith, Santa Clara County Executive.

The change comes after confusion over the weekend, when Alcohol Beverage Control officers visited hundreds of businesses across the state, including more than 100 businesses in Santa Clara County.

Business owners were warned outdoor dining was not allowed even though the county had allowed it for weeks.

"I'm very sorry for the confusion this has caused. I just want to say this is our first pandemic. I hope we don't have another one but we are learning as we're going," said Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President.

Under the now-approved variance, outdoor dining will continue and starting Monday, hair and nail salons can open, along with gyms and religious gatherings as long as the indoor number is limited to 20 people and 60 people maximum outside.

But health officials caution face coverings outside the house and limiting interactions with others are still crucial.

"When we go out to engage in business or activity, we must do it differently. If we don't do it differently our cases will continue to accelerate and we will be in big trouble," said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer.

Businesses deemed high-risk that will remain closed in Santa Clara County including indoor dining and bars, nightclubs, stadiums and amusement parks.

This announcement comes the same day San Francisco's mayor announced what she calls the difficult decision to postpone the planned reopening of indoor dining and outside bars on July 13, citing a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

"We have no choice. We are living in COVID," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

            San Francisco is also reevaluating other businesses including hair salons, gyms and the zoo and expects to have an update by the end of the week.

"Don't let your guard down. The virus is still out there and there's more of it out there than ever before," said San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Grant Colfax.

            Health officials say three core principals are known about the risk of getting COVID-19.

            Outdoors is safer than indoors.

            More distance is better than less with six feet being the minimum.

            And the briefer the contact with someone outside your household, the better.