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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

A new Shelter-in-Place Order for Santa Clara County residents went into effect on Monday, May 4, 2020, extending the shelter-in-place timeline from May 4, 2020 to May 31, 2020 but allowing certain businesses and activities to resume.

“We have successfully slowed the spread of COVID-19,” said Assemblyman Ash Kalra (A-27), in a statement released May 8.

The updated order from the county’s Health Officer allows some workplaces to go back to work so long as those organizations comply with certain safety protocols

That  includes all construction projects and real estate transactions, as well as nurseries, landscaping, and agriculture businesses that normally operated outdoors prior to the shelter in place mandate.

Educational and recreational programs that provide childcare for people who are allowed to work outside of their homes are also eligible to resume services.

However, the order requires that all businesses in the County update or create a Social Distancing Protocol based on local or state restrictions, and to follow whichever guideline is stricter, as they transition into Stage 2 of California’s Pandemic Resilience Roadmap.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced new changes to California’s four-stage Pandemic Roadmap, that will allow some Lower Risk Workplaces such as modified school programs and childcare the opportunity to adapt and re-open in some counties.

The framework also provides Industrial guidance that will drive the reopening of businesses in the retail, manufacturing, and logistics  sectors, as long as they meet criteria for risk assessment, screenings, physical distancing and disinfecting protocols.

Santa Clara County  Resource Initiatives

Santa Clara County is creating access to resources that its residents may need as they gear up for staggered re-openings within their county and across the state.

The City of San Jose is teaming with Verily and Santa Clara County to open free new community testing sites, which will offer 250 tests per day, 2-3 days per week . The city also has created a Nonprofit Resource Page in partnership with trusted nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits in Santa Clara county can access resourcesthrough Silicon Valley Strong  and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s coronavirus response program.

In San Jose, the city’s work2future program will work with local restaurants to provide on-the-job training for adults, and work experience funding opportunities for older youth.

The California DMV will reopen select field offices across the state on Friday, May 8, to a field office during the COVID-19 pandemic. The San Jose Driver License Processing Center will reopen to assist customers with appointments and transactions that require in-person visits. Online and expanded virtual services will still be available to complete driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals, and other transactions.

California State Pandemic Response

At the state level, Governor Newsome is creating several new initiatives to help Californians contend with the pandemic.

They include the Great Plates Delivered Program which will provide meals to high-risk seniors, and support for local restaurants  and other food providers that are struggling to remain open during the pandemic. Another groundbreaking statewide initiative, High Road Kitchens  will provide grants and subsidies to independent restaurants which commit to equitable wages, re-hire employees and re-purpose themselves as community kitchens as they reopen; training on compliance with COVID-19-related physical distancing orders is also on offer.

Childcare for Essential Workers

Parents can find affordable childcare from a list of open licensed childcare programsthrough a state subsidized portal  of Child Care Resource and Referral agencies. By entering their location and type of care they need, they will receive instantly receive a list of local center-based and family childcare programs.

Financial Relief for Students and Homeowners Additional relief measures announced by Governor Newsome include assistance for more than 1.1 million Californians with privately held student loans, temporary cash aid and assistance to eligible families to in find and keep jobs through CalWORKsand a Forbearance option – a temporary pause or reduction in monthly mortgage payments – for families facing financial hardships.  New guidance is also available for people who have exhausted all benefits, EDD debit cards, or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Small Businesses Relief Programs

Covered California will protect small businesses seeking to keep their employees covered by reducing premiums and deferring payments during the pandemic. Governor Newsom also has extended the tax filing deadline for taxpayers have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19

Residents can check the status of their Economic Impact Payment at the Get My Payment portal and confirm whether the money is arriving via direct deposit or paper check.

Nonprofits, commercial arts businesses, and individual artists can find arts funding opportunities through Americans for the Arts  and the CARES Act Table of Federal Arts Funding Opportunities for

More information is available at or email

Meera Kymal is a contributing editor at India Currents

Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

Photo by Muhammad Rizwan on Unsplash

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Meera Kymal

Meera Kymal is the Managing Editor at India Currents and Founder/Producer at She produces multi-platform content on the South Asian diaspora through the lens of social justice,...