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MENDOCINO Co., 3/17/20 — Mendocino County Public Health Officer Noemi Doohan will be issuing a shelter-in-place order tomorrow at 5 p.m. which will go into effect at 10 p.m. tomorrow, March 18 in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This order carries force of law, and means that anyone outside of their home for non-essential purposes may be subject to punishment including fine and imprisonment — though Sheriff Matt Kendall said at the county’s press conference today, and in consultation with the county’s police chiefs, that they will execute enforcement primarily by “education,” that is, asking people to move along.
This order applies to non-essential travel outside of the house (click here for list of essential business). Essential tasks like grocery shopping, will be allowed, as will essential jobs, such as farming, medical professions, banking, gas stations, among many others. Mendocino’s order will largely mirror the order issued in the Bay Area, but will be modified for our rural nature. Here is a link to the Bay Area’s order. That order defines the restrictions as follows:
ALL INDIVIDUALS LIVING IN THE COUNTY TO SHELTER AT THEIR PLACE OF RESIDENCE EXCEPT THAT THEY MAY LEAVE TO PROVIDE OR RECEIVE CERTAIN ESSENTIAL SERVICES OR ENGAGE IN CERTAIN ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES AND WORK FOR ESSENTIAL BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICESCity and County of San Francisco
Examples of things that are considered essential include the hot meals that schools are providing to-go, services to seniors, essential infrastructure services, and so on. Many people will still be performing their jobs, but many of us will be confined. Mendocino County officials are working right now to figure out how best to tailor this order to Mendocino County with its unique rural character. As has been noted by officials the country over, a balance must be struck between the utter necessity of slowing the spread of the virus, and the need to keep society and the economy running. One thing to note is that the press has been considered an essential service by the Bay Area orders, and as such we at The Mendocino Voice will continue to go out and report for you.
Doohan noted in a tweet tonight that, “We have 1[sic] day to make sure this shelter in place order is designed right for our unique rural community…”
Dr. Doohan has already made a strong recommendation that people shelter in place, and Governor Newsom has advised all people over 65 not to leave the house. However, just what will constitute an essential service, or an essential task, and what is non-essential, is not absolutely clear at this moment. Officials are working now to better refine those definitions.
This significant escalation in the restrictions being placed on residents of Mendocino County comes after a very similar order was issued for all six Bay Area counties. Today Sonoma County, which has documented cases of community spread of the virus, issued its own order mandating people stay home. In addition Lake County is anticipating the issuance of their own shelter-in-place order within the next day. The governor has also placed the National Guard on alert.
Here is the notice from Mendocino County Public Health:
County Health Officer will Issue Shelter-In-Place Order on March 18
Mendocino County Public Health has been actively responding to the threat of COVID-19 since early January 2020. On March 4, 2020, Mendocino County declared a local health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within Mendocino County, there has been minimal COVID-19 testing performed due to crisis level nationwide shortage of testing materials. At this time, there are zero confirmed cases and no evidence of community spread in Mendocino County.
Given that nearby San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 with extensive community spread, we recognize the imminent threat presented to the public’s health.
Mendocino County has been closely monitoring the recent Shelter-In-Place Orders issued yesterday in a coordinated effort by the big 6 Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda). Tonight with the addition of Sonoma County’s Shelter-In-Place Order, County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan has decided to issue a local order in alignment with our region. The Bay Area joint order, which can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2IOHTtR, restricts non-essential activities outside the home. The Mendocino County Shelter-In-Place Order will reflect the rural nature of our County. The Mendocino County Health Officer will issue this Health Order, tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. to go into effect at 10:00 p.m. This upcoming order will be issued in response to the 297 confirmed cases and 5 deaths in the seven Bay Area jurisdictions along with community spread in neighboring counties. The Health Officer recommends that Mendocino County residents who have upcoming non-essential travel planned to any of the Bay Area counties cancel their plans.
County Health Officer Dr. Doohan will be issuing the Health Order and a press release tomorrow, March 18, at 5:00 p.m. Dr. Doohan will be available for media inquiries by phone from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Media inquiries can be submitted to Sarah Dukett at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:00 p.m. on March 18.
Please visit www.mendocinocounty.org for the latest local news on COVID-19. For general health related questions or other concerns regarding COVID-19, please call Mendocino County’s Call Center at (707) 234-6052 or email email@example.com. The call center will be open during regular business hours, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.Mendocino County Public Health
The following is a list of essential businesses provided for in the Santa Clara County FAQ on their order. The Mendocino County list will likely be similar with some differences due to our rural nature.
The Order provides the following list of “Essential Businesses”:
- Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure;
- Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
- Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
- Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
- Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
- Banks and related financial institutions;
- Hardware stores;
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses;
- Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
- Educational institutions—including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;
- Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers;
- Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
- Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
- Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate;
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences;
- Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
- Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
- Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
- Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
- Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions:
- Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
- Children shall not change from one group to another.
- If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.
- Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.