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Berkeley and Santa Clara County Reopen Outdoor Dining, Effective Immediately

Sit-down dining is up and running in Silicon Valley

Life in San Jose under coronavirus measures
These Palo Alto restaurant tables can be used by diners once again, as Santa Clara county officials say that the area will reopen outdoor dining immediately
Photo by Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Santa Clara County — the Silicon Valley region that’s home to cities like Palo Alto, San Jose, and Campbell — is open for outdoor dining as of Monday, January 25. So is the city of Berkeley, which, while located in Alameda County, has its own health department. They’re the two latest Bay Area counties to announce the resumption of outdoor dining, the same day that Governor Gavin Newsom shocked the state of California by announcing that despite worrisome developments like a new variant of COVID-19 and continued challenges with vaccination efforts, the seven-week regional stay-at-home order has been lifted, allowing activities like sit-down dining to resume.

Marin County was among the first to announce that it would end its weeks of takeout-only dining, and would open up outdoor dining immediately. In a press conference Monday, San Francisco announced that it, too, would resume outdoor dining — but not until Thursday, January 28, and only under tight restrictions including a 10-day quarantine for travelers, and a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for the entire city.

According to Berkeleyside, while Alameda County has yet to make an official announcement, Berkeley city spokesperson Matthai Chakko “said Berkeley will not be imposing any additional restrictions on activities or businesses allowed under the purple tier.” In other words, outdoor dining can restart immediately, without the types of additional restrictions applied by San Francisco. Like the rest of the Bay Area, Berkeley and Santa Clara are currently in the purple (“widespread risk”) tier of the state’s color-coded reopening plan, which requires that bars without food remain shuttered and prohibits indoor dining, but allows activities like tourism and outdoor dining to resume.

In a press release sent Monday afternoon, Santa Clara Country officials also said that “outdoor dining may resume today,” and did not appear to add any of its own rules around the activity. Like San Francisco, Santa Clara has a mandatory travel order that will remain in effect, officials say, meaning that anyone who travels 150 miles to or from the region must fully quarantine for 10 days.

Like her health officer peers, Santa Clara County Health Officer and Director of Public Health Sarah Cody struck a measured tone regarding the reopening. “Santa Clara County continues to experience very high rates of COVID-19 transmission,” Cody said via statement. “I encourage all residents to remain vigilant, wear a mask anytime you leave your home, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone outside your household, and get vaccinated when it is your turn.”