Due to rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations, Sonoma County will join six other Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley in preemptively adopting the California Department of Public Health’s Stay-Home Order beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. The local order adopts the restrictions contained within the State’s recently announced Regional Stay-at-Home order.
Under the order, residents will be directed to stay at home except for work, shopping or other essential activities, such as medical appointments, allowed by the State’s Regional Shelter in Place Order. All sectors other than retail and essential operations must be closed. Outdoor recreation will be allowed. The new restrictions will remain in place until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021.
“Although Sonoma County has fared better until now than other parts of the state in terms of demand on our hospitals, we have been seeing an alarming increase in cases and hospitalizations in recent days, and this is putting increased strain on our medical resources,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s Health Officer. “Given that, we feel we have no choice but to join the other Bay Area counties in preemptively adopting the governor’s Stay-Home order, which is already in effect for most of the state. We have to take action now.”
Dr. Mase noted that Sonoma County cases have doubled in recent days and are now averaging nearly 25 cases per 100,000 with a 14-day average of 343 cases per 100,000 This is higher than at any point since the pandemic began. In addition, the county’s positivity rate is now up to 6.6 percent, and hospitalizations are now close to being the highest that they have ever been, said Mase. “We also are seeing a wider geographic spread of infection,” Mase said. Much of these increases are due to the surge in cases that is spreading across the nation as well as large gatherings that have occurred locally including over Halloween and Thanksgiving, she said.
Under the order, retail operations will be allowed to continue at 20 percent capacity, or 35 percent capacity for stand-alone grocery stores, schools that have received waivers will be allowed to continue operation, places of worship will still be permitted to hold outdoor services, and restaurants will be able to offer take-out, pick up, or delivery. Hotels, vacation rentals and other lodging will only be allowed to offer accommodations for those coming to the area for essential work or for COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures. But the following operations will be required to cease both indoor and outdoor services:
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Personal care services
- Movie theaters (except for drive-in theaters)
- Wineries, bars, breweries and distilleries (except for operations related to production, manufacturing, distribution and retail sales for off-site consumption)
- Family entertainment centers
- Museums, zoos, and aquariums
- Live audience sports
- Amusement parks
Outdoor activities will be allowed but only for the purpose of facilitating physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise. Outdoor gym operations will be allowed, but no indoor activities are permitted. No food, drink or alcohol sales will be allowed. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted. Playgrounds may remain open to facilitate physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise.
This order comes a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the adoption of a Stay-Home order for all regions of the state where ICU bed availability dropped below 15 percent. The ICU capacity for the Bay Area has declined from 25.7 percent at the start of the week to 17.8 percent today. The Stay-Home order is already in effect in two of the regions: Southern California and San Joaquin Valley. The order will take effect for the Greater Sacramento region, which now has an ICU capacity of 13.3 percent, at 11:59 p.m. tonight.
This order comes in response to soaring state-wide increases in cases. California cases have increased from about 6,000 per day to nearly 30,000 per day in the past 30 days.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has reached an all-time high of 12,477 people, and projections from the state show that Intensive Care Units will be severely impacted if cases continue to climb.
“This is a hard time of year, and we are asking a lot from our residents who have already sacrificed so much during the last nine months. We are missing precious moments with our loved ones, businesses are struggling, and many of our residents are losing necessary income,” shared Supervisor Susan Gorin, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “For precisely these reasons, it is imperative that we act together now to slow the spread, because the faster we stop this surge the sooner we can continue safely reopening.”
The health order is available on the Sonoma County website at SoCoEmergency.org Residents can learn more about what activities are restricted by visiting https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/.
The County urges residents to plan on celebrating the holidays with their households in accordance with the Stay-at-Home Order and not to rely on the availability of a vaccine during December. Although a COVID-19 vaccine is expected to become available in December, it will have a limited release and not be widely available until 2021.
The County is committed to offering resources to residents during this time. Residents who need support and information can visit socoemergency.org/coronavirus, and businesses can find resources and guidance on socolaunch.org/.