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County Administrator's Office
For Immediate Release

Sonoma County Public Health Officer Extends Shelter in Place Order for County Residents

Santa Rosa,CA | March 31, 2020

En español

The Sonoma County Health Officer today extended the Health Order for people to shelter-in-place safely in their homes until May 3, 2020. The original Order was announced on Wednesday March 18 and set to expire on April 7, 2020.

All individuals currently living in the County are ordered to shelter in their homes. If leaving their homes for essential purposes as allowed by the Order, individuals must socially distance themselves from others by at least six feet.  

The Sonoma County local Health Order is consistent with the current Governor’s Order to Shelter in Place. The recent Order from the Health Officer implements the Governor’s Order in a way that is localized to Sonoma County. 

The new Health Order adds to the list of activities people may undertake outside their home as well as clarifies guidance from the previous Order.

“This extension and new requirements align Sonoma County with the vital precautions being taken throughout the state and region to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Sonoma County Public Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase, said. “Staying safely at home and physical distancing are scientifically-proven to be the most effective methods to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and keep our communities healthy.” 

Sonoma County currently has 64 active cases of COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 78. Of those 78 cases, one person has died and 13 patients have recovered from the illness. These cases were linked to person-to-person, community transmission, and infection during international travel.

“We will continue to assess the safety needs of the community and may modify or extend the Order, or issue additional Orders,” Mase continued. “Residents need to understand that violation of any provision of this order is a threat to public health and will be enforced. We’re asking all residents to do their part to stay home, continue physical distancing, and practice good hygiene in order to curtail the spread of the virus.”

The new Order emphasizes the importance of social distancing, washing hands, avoiding touching the face, covering coughs and sneezes, and regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces.  All essential businesses must now develop, post, and implement a detailed Social Distancing and Hygiene Protocol by 11:59 p.m. on April 2, 2020.  

“While many businesses and retailers should be commended for complying with the social distancing requirements in the order, many have not taken it seriously enough, said Dr. Mase.  “I cannot overemphasize the importance of these measures in keeping our community safe.  If a business is in the essential category, it must comply or it risk being closed down.”

Other areas clarified with the updated Health Order

Essential and Non-essential Businesses

The updated Order clarifies that wineries, breweries, and other food and beverage cultivation and licensed cannabis businesses can take retail orders on line or over the phone for curb-side pickup and delivery.  

Short-term Rentals

The updated Order prohibits short-term occupancy, except for COVID-19 related distancing and quarantine purposes and only to Sonoma County residents.  People from outside the County who are traveling to the County for essential business, infrastructure, healthcare, or government can also obtain short-term housing.

“I am concerned that some individuals are still offering units to tourists,” said Dr. Mase.  As the other Bay Area counties extend their shelter in place orders, it will be especially important for Sonoma County to avoid becoming the destination of choice for a getaway.  The provision in the new Order allows us to step up enforcement.” 

For more information about the Public Health Order, essential businesses, available County services, or updates regarding the public health emergency, please visit SoCoEmergency.org. Residents may also call 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211 in order to text with a 2-1-1 operator. Additional updates are available on County of Sonoma (@countyofsonoma) social media.

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