County lifts ban on car parades

Almond Car Parade” width=
Town Crier File Photo
Almond School hosted a car parade April 29. The Los Altos School District later learned that the events were prohibited under Santa Clara County's shelter-in-place order. The county has now reversed course and parades will once again be allowed, beginning Friday (May 22).

Car parades will once again be allowed in Santa Clara County, starting Friday (May 22), a reversal of the county’s previous ban.

Under the newest public health order, car parades are explicitly listed as an allowed activity, because they have a “relatively low risk” of causing prohibited gatherings and lead to “little-to-no physical interaction with others in the community.”

“This activity provides a low-risk option for people seeking to celebrate special occasions outside their homes,” the order said.

That’s a stark change from the county’s prior position. A couple of weeks ago, the public health department’s frequently asked questions page was updated to state that the parades run afoul of the shelter-in-place order.

In a written statement to the Town Crier at the time, the county’s media relations team said the prohibition on car parades existed since the initial March 16 health order, and they were “never envisioned as something that would be allowed.”

Multiple Los Altos elementary schools hosted parades in April, before the county clarified that they were banned. When Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier got word of the restriction, he told principals that no more parades could go forward.

Now, they are once again allowed. The newest order, effective May 22, adds the parades to the list of acceptable activities. The county press team did not respond to a request for an interview about the switch.

Any parades that do occur must follow certain requirements. Only members of a single household may be in each car, participants can’t leave their vehicles during the parade, cars can’t congregate at a fixed location, and bicycles and motorcycles can’t participate.

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