Santa Clara County's reopening pace challenged

As more counties in the Bay Area reopen more businesses, Santa Clara County’s health officer is warning not to move too fast. Some people are raising concerns with that cautious approach. Many people are worried about economic and mental health and not just physical health.

“I hear people complaining about the weather changing and that’s a real issue coming up,” said Michael Fiorillo of Fiorillo’s Restaurant.

Fiorillo said how to operate outdoors as Fall approaches is what’s keeping him up at night. His family-owned restaurant Fiorillo’s in Santa Clara has been in business since 1972.

Fiorillo said he knows how to mitigate risk indoors and he’s frustrated that other counties also in the red tier are opening at a quicker pace.

“I do feel the county is going too slow with the results we’ve been getting,” said Fiorillo.

At Tuesday’s Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting, Dr. Sara Cody reported Covid case count and hospitalizations are down. However, she urged not to underestimate the virus.

“We don't want to make the mistake that we collectively made earlier that we went a little too fast and spent the summer with quite a bit of Covid transmission,” said Dr. Cody.

“She has acknowledged that she tends to be more cautious,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “She has noted concerns when other counties move more quickly and then have to backtrack.”

Ellenberg as well as Supervisor Mike Wasserman pressed Dr. Cody for answers to re-open more businesses.

Supervisor Wasserman said as the county has gotten better at fighting the virus, with masks and testing, the economy is declining.

“My concern is the economic and the mental health like my chart has said has surpassed the physical health,” said Wasserman.

Some people have said, it begs the question, is the county more focused on saving lives and not enough focus on saving businesses?

“I feel vilified,” said California Sports Center Co-Owner David Peterson. “First guilty before proven innocent.”

Peterson is the owner of California Sports, a gymnastics and dance center for kids for three decades in San Jose. He wants the county not to assume his business and others are Covid-spreaders. Number of adults are limited inside and masks are on. He’s concerned about the greater welfare of the kids.

“We are on the brink of closing,” said Peterson. “I think every gymnastics business in this county and many in the state are.”