On June 5th, Governor Newsom issued new guidance for several business sectors including family entertainment centers, restaurants, wineries and bars, zoos and museums, gyms and fitness centers, hotels for tourism and individual travel, cardrooms and racetracks, and campgrounds and outdoor recreation. The Governor’s purpose is to provide guidance on how businesses can resume operations while supporting a safe, clean environment for workers. Variance counties such as Monterey County can open these sectors with approval by the County Health Officer after review of local COVID-19 indicators.
Monterey County has not exceeded the threshold for maintaining hospital surge capacity and has not exceeded the threshold for maintaining the ability to protect those at high risk for COVID-19. Maintaining surge capacity and protecting vulnerable populations have been and continue to be top public health priorities during this pandemic.
Most of the remaining epidemiology and general surveillance indicators as well as indicators for the ability to test residents, isolate people with COVID-19, trace their close contacts, and support people in quarantine suggest that current stay at home orders, social distancing and use of face coverings continue to slow the spread of the virus in Monterey County.
Pandemics are typically characterized by a progressive increase in the prevalence of disease over time. Due to increasing prevalence, as well as increasing number of people being tested, the Health Department anticipates that the incidence of COVID-19, as tracked by the 14-day cumulative incidence rate and the 7-day test positivity rate, may rise from time to time.
Based on review of local indicators, the Monterey County Health Officer approves implementation of the new guidance and opening of the business sectors on June 12th, as recommended by the California Governor.
As stay-at-home orders are modified, it is essential that businesses take all steps necessary to ensure the safety of workers and customers, including developing and implementing a COVID-19 prevention plan, as required by sector guidelines. Key business practices include physical distancing to the maximum extent possible, use of face coverings by employees and patrons, frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfecting, and training employees on these and other elements of their COVID-19 prevention plan. In addition, businesses must have in place appropriate processes to identify new cases of illness in workplaces and, when they are identified, to intervene quickly and work with Monterey County Public Health to halt the spread of the virus. Businesses planning to resume operations June 12th must review, understand and implement sector specific guidance found at the California website, https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/.
“Thanks to countywide efforts to socially distance, cover faces, wash hands, clean and sterilize surfaces and stay at home as much as possible, we continue to slow the spread of COVID-19,” says Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer. “We are still in the middle of a pandemic and must continue to work together to protect our families, friends and fellow residents.” The County Health Department and California Department of Public health will continue to monitor local indicators. “Future decisions to open additional businesses and activities will depend in part on how well businesses implement sector guidelines and how well we all practice social distancing and other preventive measures,” says Dr. Moreno.