In a reversal, California approves Santa Clara County's reopening plan

State officials have approved Santa Clara County's revised reopening plan, days after rejecting it and causing uncertainty over whether outdoor dining is permitted in the South Bay. 

The county announced Tuesday it had won approval from the California Department of Public Health to proceed with plans that allow restaurants to continue serving customers al fresco. 

The variance granted by the state also enables Santa Clara County to enter a new phase of loosened coronavirus measures on July 13. 

Hair and nail salons and gyms may reopen, and small gatherings may take place if strict social distancing rules are followed, county officials have said. 

"Mother nature is in charge, and we must adapt," said Dr. Sara Cody, the county's top health official on Tuesday. 

The strict rules require masks in almost all situations outside the home. 

There is no plan to allow indoor dining to resume, Cody said. 

The state had initially rejected this plan for reopening shortly after county officials announced it last week. 

That rejection coupled with surprise visits from state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents to restaurants caused confusion throughout Santa Clara County. Restaurants in Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Jose were told that outdoor dining was prohibited in Santa Clara County although local officials had believed that seating customers in the open air was permissible. 

Santa Clara County has had 5,478 coronavirus cases and 165 COVID-19 deaths, according to county records