1. Santa Clara Now In Least Restrictive Tier
Santa Clara County has been moved into the yellow safety tier and rescinded the risk reduction public health order that had been in place since October 2020.
“Many of the previous restrictions are no longer necessary because there is increasing and widespread vaccination and fewer cases of COVID-19 in the community,” the Santa Clara County Public Health website stated. “However, it is critical that more people get vaccinated and that unvaccinated people continue to take appropriate safety measures.”
The new County order gives three new requirements. First, employees can return to offices and social distancing will not be required by the businesses. Secondly, all employers must track which employees have been vaccinated and keep safety rules for those who remain unvaccinated. Finally, all workplaces and schools must continue to report confirmed COVID cases.
Additionally, the order ends the need for County employers to maximize telework, no longer requires social distancing protocols, and eliminates the local Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations.
These orders will be subject to change as County authorities continue to monitor the pandemic, although the changes suggest officials have become more optimistic about the future.
2. Help Wanted
The San Francisco Chronicle reported many Bay Area businesses have a desperate need of workers. So desperate, in fact, that some restaurant chains like Chipotle and McDonald’s have announced a raise in their minimum wage to encourage job applicants. The reported also stated that Amazon previously agreed to pay workers a minimum of $15 per hour,
FedEx Ground also relayed plans to hire 900 people at facilities in the San Francisco area and thousands more nationwide, thanks to the giant increase in online shopping and shipping demands created by the pandemic.
But challenges will remain while the Bay Area economy looks to make a return to full operational capacity, and not just from health and safety concerns. While public schools will shut down for the summer, daycare center closings might prevent parents from going back to work without affordable child care.
A company’s willingness to allow employees to work remotely may also present difficulties. A business paying for an office space may want to maximize its usage now that vaccines have become readily available. But such actions may override the wishes of employees still uncertain about returning to a traditional working environment, even with health and safety protocols in place. That could lead employees to leave companies in search of more secure environments.
3. Prom Is On. Kinda.
First, the good news: proms and graduations will be taking place in 2021. The bad news? No close dancing allowed. San Francisco's Health Department announced several new rules will be in place this year so that everyone can enjoy the prom experience as much as possible during the pandemic. In addition to the dancing rule, all prom participants who haven’t been vaccinated will need to stay six feet away from others. Also, anyone going to an indoor event will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test before getting in. Face masks will also be required, although no guidelines on fashion have been released.