COVID-19 Response:

Latest News

For the most recent information about COVID-19 public health information please visit the County Health Services Agency website.

10/27/2020 County of Santa Cruz now in Orange Tier

Based on improved test positivity and case rates, the California Department of Public Health has moved Santa Cruz County into the Orange Tier in its Blueprint
for a Safer Economy. The new tier designation comes with a new set of guidelines that opens up the economy safely, which can be referenced in the Blueprint linked below.


- Previously opened sectors such as restaurants, places of worship, movie theaters, and museums may increase indoor operations to 50 percent of capacity.

- Retail establishments may now open at full capacity

- Bars, breweries, and distilleries may resume outdoor operations,

- Wineries may resume indoor operations at 25 percent capacity or 100 people (whichever is fewer)

- Gyms and fitness centers may increase indoor capacity from 10 percent to 25 percent

Full Details: State of California Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Official Press Release

10/06/2020 Updates Program Guidelines for Restaurants and Retail

On October 6th, 2020, in preparation for the upcoming winter season, our team collaborated with the Fire Department to update the City's Outdoor Dining Guidelines. The update provides additional direction to further expand operations capabilities during the cold months safely during the Pandemic.

- Tents with one side up to 400 SF and canopies up to 700 SF are allowed to be installed in the expansion areas. Any structures larger than that will require review and a permit from the Fire Department
- All tents/canopies and their sidewall shall meet NFPA 701, CPAI-84 standards to ensure all temporary structures are fire-resistive
- Only electric heaters are allowed under properly fire-rated canopies and tents
- Gas heaters cannot be placed under tents and must have at 36" clearance from any combustible materials around them
- Extensions cords are allowed to provide power for electric heaters and lighting but must be of proper outdoor rating and must be clearly marked and protected to avoid tripping hazards and other safety issued
-Fire extinguishers must in place for all tents/canopies and heater usage

Full Guidelines

09/23/2020 Local Governments now Allowed to Extending Commercial Renter Protections

Governor Newsom signed a new executive order authorization for local governments to halt evictions for commercial renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through March 31, 2021.

Press Release
Executive Order

09/08/2020 New Bills to Support Small Businesses Grappling with Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic, and Bolster Economic Recovery

On September 09, 2020, the Governor signed into law a series of new bills that support small businesses that have been negatively affected by the COVID pandemic and help accelerate regional economic recovery.


- AB 1577 allows small businesses to exclude PPP loans from gross income for state taxes

- SB 1447 authorizes a $100 million Main Street hiring tax credit program for small businesses

- SB 115 accelerates $230.5 million in state bond funding to help jumpstart construction projects

The legislation builds on previous investments and support for California small businesses

Link to Press Release

09/01/2020: Small Business Assistance Grant Program Deadline: (09/15/2020)

To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Santa Cruz County small businesses and employees, the Santa Cruz County Cares Recovery Program has committed up to $15,000 per eligible
small business in one-time funds, up to a total of $1 million for the program.

Small Business Assistance Grant


On August 31, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 3088. The Assembly bill bans evictions in California immediately and protects tenants who claim hardship related to COVID -19. The eviction ban is valid until February 1, 2021.

Key Take-Aways

1. Before August 31, 2020: To qualify for eviction protection, tenants must first sign a document stating a COVID- related hardship between Marth 4th, 2020 - August 31, 2020.

2. After August 31, 2020: Tenants who claim a COVID-19 hardship between September 1, 2020 - January 31, 2020, must also pay 25% of the rent to avoid eviction.

3. Tenants must provide the landlord the signed declaration of hardship document within 15 business days after rent is due.

4. Important: Tenants MUST pay debt eventually. However, landlords can not evict a tenant for this reason. The law allows the landlord to recover accumulated rental debt starting March,01,2021.

Press Release

Read the full bill text for AB 308


Starting August 14th, 2020, the City Manager has declared an emergency declaration banning street vending from operating within the listed areas below.

Affected areas

1. Beach Street

2. Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

3. West Cliff Drive

4. Main Street and Cowell Beach

The City took emergency action due to public health concerns and the need to protect the community. The purpose of the order is to reduce unsafe overcrowding from sidewalk selling activities. The order shall be in effect until October 1st, 2020.

Link to Executive Order


Effective immediately, to support Santa Cruz restaurant during COVID-19. The City of Santa Cruz extends the executive order to limit a 15% commissions cap charged by 3rd party food delivery companies to businesses. Initially, the City passed the commission limit on April 13th, 2020. Due to this economic crisis's ongoing nature, the City has extended the commission limit to ease the financial burden to local businesses. The commission cap is in place until at a time when the city council shall determine the health emergency is no longer in effect.

Key Take-Away:

1. Max commission is 15%, it is unlawful to do otherwise

2. Commission limit is in place until City Council determines public health crisis is over

3. New extended executive order (2020-13) replaces the previous executive order (2020-06)

Link to Updated Executive Order (2020-13)

Link to Original Executive Order (2020-06)


Based on the increased spread of COVID-19 and in order to protect the health and safety of residents, the California Department of Public Health has added Santa Cruz County to the order of modifying or closing operations in several sectors. The orders go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.

They include modifications for:

  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Personal care services
  • Places of worship and cultural ceremonies
  • Offices for non-critical infrastructure sectors
  • Indoor shopping malls

Retail and existing outdoor restaurant operations are unaffected by the orders and may continue operating under state guidelines for their respective sectors.

Additionally, hair salons and personal services (including skincare, cosmetology, nail services, and massage therapy but not electrology, tattooing, and piercing services) may continue operations outdoors under state guidelines.

Non-critical infrastructure sectors are defined by the Department of Homeland Security and are available at Offices on this list are not required to close operations but must continue following state guidelines for safe operations. Places of worship may continue outdoor operations in accordance with state guidelines. Indoor dining, bars, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, and museums and cardrooms were closed throughout California on July 13, 2020. Any removal from the list would require further state action.

6/15/20: Expanded Personal Care Services May Resume Friday

In accordance with State of California guidance and prior County Health Officer orders, the County of Santa Cruz will allow expanded personal care services to resume Friday, June 19th . Expanded personal services include hair and nail salons, estheticians, skin care, cosmetology, electrology, microblading, waxing, body art, tattoo parlors, body piercing shops and massage therapy. Businesses and professionals should follow State guidance in order to minimize risk to clients and providers.

State guidance for expanded personal services can be found here.

With additional openings, the County wishes to emphasize the importance of following local Social Distancing Protocols, which include:

  1. Wearing a face covering while engaging others at work or in public
  2. Maintaining six feet of distance from others who are not members of your household
  3. Frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  4. Covering coughs or sneezes with tissue or fabric, or using your elbow
  5. Staying home if you are sick with a fever or cough

6/9/20: Revised Health Order Removes Lodging Restrictions

Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel on Tuesday issued a new order removing local restrictions on lodging operators, allowing hotels, motels and vacation rentals to resume business activities in accordance with State guidelines effective Friday, June 12.

The County was previously approved for a State variance and issued orders aligning the County with State guidance, which will allow movies theaters and family entertainment centers; museums, galleries and aquariums; gyms and fitness centers; swimming pools; campgrounds and RV parks; and tasting rooms, brewpubs and bars to reopen on Friday as well. The new order also extends partial beach closures through July 6, 2020, at which time the County will reassess beach access.

Furthermore, the County is aligned with new State guidance on schools, childcare facilities and day camps. The County advises residents that not all operations or businesses will be ready to open on the effective date of sector guidance. Owners or managers of local businesses and other operations are advised to read and follow State guidance in order to protect the health and safety of staff and customers. Santa Cruz County public health officials will closely monitor local case counts, infections rates and hospitalizations and stand ready to modify local health orders if necessary to protect the health and safety of the community.

5/6/20: Supplemental Shelter In Place Order Aligns With Governor's Move to Stage 2 of Recovery

Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel issued an updated Shelter-in-Place Order allowing local businesses to conduct limited reopenings as Gov. Gavin Newsom launches Stage 2 of his Reopening Roadmap.

Beginning Friday, May 8, 2020, local retail businesses may begin providing curbside pick-up services to customers. Examples of such businesses include bookstores, clothing stores, florists, sporting goods stores and other over-the-counter retailers. In addition, manufacturing and supply chain workplaces supporting these businesses may open. Social Distancing Protocols must be followed in all of these settings.

Other types of businesses, including shopping malls, dine-in services, hair and nail salons, movie theaters and more, remain prohibited from operating.

Further State guidance on allowable businesses is expected to be issued Thursday.

Business owners are advised to review State guidance to determine whether their establishments may reopen as well as operational practices, so that they may avoid enforcement actions.

English Español

View our resources on preparing to reopen.


The County is seeking local restaurants, caterers and other food business interested in preparing and delivering meals to older Santa Cruz County residents who face an elevated COVID-19, under the new Great Plates Delivered program. A federal program designed to support adults 65 and older as well as adults 60-64 who are at high-risk from COVID-19 and are sheltering in place without access to food support, the program delivers up to three meals per day delivered from local restaurants and food providers to help them stay home and stay healthy. The program also provides a way for local food providers to maintain operations and staff. Vendors must meet certain nutritional, delivery, and other requirements. If your business is interested in Great Plates Delivered, please email no later than May 11, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

Please ensure to submit the following:

  • Brief Description of your Food Service Restaurant or Facility.
  • Proposed Example of Menu to be served to meet the requirements.
  • Please include your average daily cost per person.
  • This should be broken down into meal costs (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks), delivery costs, and admin costs. Reimbursement will be based on a daily cost to provide meal service per person. State if your restaurant would be willing to donate 6.25 percent of the meals delivered to count as the local share of cost.
  • Date when service could begin.

Interested business should view the Request for Information.

Great Plates Delivered Program FAQ

4/30/20: Shelter In Place Order Extended Indefinitely With Some Restrictions Eased

The County Health Officer issued a revised order that maintains requirements for physical distancing and to shelter in place except for essential travel. Under the Order, limited business activities may resume under certain conditions, including landscaping and construction-related activities; nursery/gardening wholesalers and retailers; childcare, recreational and educational institutions serving children operating under strict safety guidelines; and golf courses that can protect the health of patrons.

The County has also prepared additional appendices with guidelines for operations of businesses now able to operate with social distancing:

English Español


Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel issued a new order requiring patrons and staff at essential businesses to wear face coverings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The order follows new requirements in place throughout much of the Bay Area, and is intended to further slow the spread of novel coronavirus. The order impacts public, commercial and governmental spaces where face-to-face interactions may pose a risk of transmission, including grocery stores, health care offices, restaurant pickup counters, public transit, essential government offices and more.

Businesses must take reasonable measures, such as posting signs, to remind visitors about face coverings, and may not serve customers who do not observe the order. Workers do not need to face coverings if they are alone in a personal office but must put them on when others enter.

Residents are encouraged to continue to practice safe physical distancing when they go out to exercise or for recreation. Individuals engaged on outdoor recreation and who are able to practice distancing (joggers, cyclists, hikers, etc.) are not required to wear face coverings, but should move to avoid close proximity with passers-by.

English Spanish

4/15/20: City Council Establishes Santa Cruz Resilience Microloan Program to Support Businesses

At their April 14, 2020 meeting, the Santa Cruz City Council acknowledged the many businesses in the community that are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, required closures, and the limited access and long wait times for federal funding promised through the CARES Act.To provide emergency financing for small businesses that are not well served by other state and federal loan programs or are in need of bridge funding to meet immediate working capital needs the City Council approved the establishment of the Santa Cruz Resilience Microloan Program.

The Resilience Microloan Program will provide loans ranging from $5,000-$10,000 to be allocated to eligible, qualified small businesses based on availability of funds, program guidelines and the submission of the online application with required documentation. Loan funds can be used for operating expenses such as rent, payroll, utilities, inventory and supplies. Interest rates vary from 0% for bridge loans up to 3% for terms up to 3 years. No application fee or collateral needed to apply. Applications will be processed and funds awarded in the order received as long as funds are available. This program is funded by the City of Santa Cruz and designed in partnership with the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union.

Details about the program application requirements and process are available here.

4/13/20: Supporting Santa Cruz Restaurants, City Places Limit of 15% on Commissions Charged by Third-Party Food Delivery Companies

In support of local businesses in Santa Cruz, City Manager Martin Bernal signed an executive order this morning establishing a temporary limit of 15% on commissions charged by third-party food delivery companies. This order will take effect on April 16, 2020.

With the current shelter in place order, many consumers are using third-party applications and websites to place orders with restaurants for delivery and takeout, and these third-party platforms charge restaurants fees. Capping the per-order fee at 15% will ease the financial burden on struggling restaurants during this emergency while continuing to allow third-party platforms to earn profits.

Review the Executive Order for more details.


At their March 24, 2020 Council meeting, the Santa Cruz City Council acknowledged the many individuals in the community that may be at risk of being unable to pay commercial or residential rents due to businesses being closed and employees losing income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To avoid further homelessness and loss of jobs and employment opportunities within the community, the Santa Cruz City Council approved Ordinance No. 2020-07, an emergency ordinance would prevent residential or commercial evictions for non-payment of rent as a result of economic losses related to the coronavirus pandemic. For additional details about the ordinance, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in English & Spanish.

View the City's summary of existing renter protections.

General Information about the COVID-19 Outbreak and Local Orders:

For information about changes to City Operations please visit

For updates and information relevant to the County's response to the Coronavirus and the Shelter in Place order please visit

To help assist the community in answering questions about the COVID-19 outbreak, the County of Santa Cruz has established a call center to help direct questions to the proper channels. If you have questions, please call (831) 454- 4242 between the hours of 8 a.m.6 p.m., Monday-Friday.

For Statewide information visit the State's COVID-19 Response page.