New Contra Costa health order allows more outdoor activities for businesses

New Contra Costa health order allows more outdoor activities for businesses

New Contra Costa health order allows more outdoor activities for businesses
Outdoor instruction at Concord Kung Fu Academy. (Jay Bedecarré photo)

Recent data suggest a leveling of COVID-19 transmission as new health order to take effect Friday, Aug. 28.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY—Daily hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and the percentage of COVID-19 tests returning positive remained steady or fell slightly in Contra Costa County during early August. The new data reflects recent local progress in slowing the spread of the deadly virus.

These key data indicators for the pandemic remain at dangerously high levels in Contra Costa. Because of this, the county remains on the California Department of Public Health’s county monitoring list. But indicators do not currently show increass as they did in June and July.

Given the improvement, Contra Costa County plans to make small changes to its social distancing health order. This will allow certain business sectors to begin operating again outdoors. The changes align Contra Costa’s policy with recently updated state health guidelines:

  • Personal care services that do not involve close contact with the face, such as nail salons and massage, may begin operating outdoors in accordance with the state-issued industry guidelines and checklist.
  • Gyms and fitness centers may begin operating outdoors in accordance with their own state guidelines and checklist.
  • Hotels and short-term rentals in the county may open for personal or recreational travel, not just for essential business purposes.

These updates to the health order take effect Friday, August 28. Hair salons and barbers have already been permitted to perform limited work outdoors in the county, with no reported outbreaks. For a complete list of activities currently permitted, click here.

Air Quality warning

Contra Costa Health Services does encourage businesses to adjust reopening plans because of poor air quality in the county from Northern California wildfires. The county has issued a health advisory about smoke. The advisory encourages all residents to stay inside when possible with doors and windows shut. For air quality updates and forecasts, visit the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

While recent issues at the state level skewed local testing data in late July and early August, CCHS has confidence in data related to hospitalization and number of new positive cases because they are directly reported to the county by local health providers and clinics.

The seven-day rolling average number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Contra Costa dropped slightly, from 103 on Aug. 5 to 96 on Aug. 24. The average percentage of tests administered in the county that come back positive, meanwhile, has fallen from 8.8% on Aug. 6 to 7.4% on Aug. 24.

Previous health orders remain in effect. Contra Costa Health Services urges residents to continue wearing face coverings when they go out or are near people outside their households, observe physical distancing, stay home from work or school when they do not feel well and wash their hands thoroughly and often.

Details of the update, including the full text of the order, are available at