WILLITS, 4/10/20 — Mendocino has a new shelter-in-place (SIP) order, which will last until May 10. While the previous order was open-ended, in keeping with the State of California’s open-ended order, this new one issued today, includes an end date — though that end date is subject to revision at the discretion of the county’s public health officer. The order goes into effect tonight at 10 p.m.
The order was issued at midday, today, by Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan, and is the third such order promulgated since the beginning of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis. This order tightens some requirements and carves out some new exemptions, but over all it seems aimed at clarifying and spelling out a variety of very detailed regulations. In particular the specifics around which businesses and activities are deemed essential has expanded, perhaps reflecting a process of trial-and-error and public input.
One notable change is a set of specific new clauses in the order assuring that cemeteries, mortuaries, and crematoriums are essential businesses, and providing guidelines for how to conduct funerals during this pandemic.
The order also mandates that all essential businesses devise and post guidelines for social distancing procedures tailored to their opperations. It further strongly urges the use of masks whenever anyone is in public, and mandates the use of masks in, “certain instances such as during recreation in parks.”
It does allow for some amount of recreating in some parks, though with various stipulations as to how that can happen, and generally expands what is allowed for people to maintain health by exercising outside, while also including important provisions about how such activities must occur to ensure that they remain safe and do not lead to spread of the virus.
The order is long, and detailed, but the copy which includes highlights and strike-through showing the changes from the previous order, is an extremely useful document to reader over. (You can also see it at the bottom of this article)
Some highlights of the new order:
- Essential businesses must call to work only those employees who cannot do their work from home. So even for essential businesses, employees who can work from home must.
- The order clarifies that family members living together can travel outside the home together, and be in proximity together (since they’re close together in the home anyhow) but must maintain the social distance with other people, including family from other households.
- The new order allows some language that enables non-essential businesses to preform “minimum basic operations.”
- This new order slightly loosens the restriction on driving to a place to then “recreate.” Previously, exercise such as biking or jogging was only allowed if it was started from your own home. Now there is an exemption if it isn’t safe to bike or jog from your home, then “it is permissible to drive the shortest distance possible to a location where one can safely exercise.”
- High touch area playgrounds must be closed.
- Facilities including basketball courts, golf courses, and rock climbing walls must be closed.
- Caring for the property of a family member who is sick or dead is now considered an essential activity. Previously this had not been included.
- Attending funerals is now allowed, if the funeral includes no more than 10 people, including the staff of the funeral home or cemetery, and at which family members of different households have to maintain social distance.
- Moving residence is expressly allowed, if it cannot be deferred or it has to happen for safety reasons.
- Cemeteries, mortuaries, and crematoriums are now included in the essential business category.
- A variety of other businesses are more explicitly included as essential, though some with restricted operations.
Here is Public Health’s summary of important changes and differences in this order:
Summary of Changes: Health Officer’s Shelter-In-Place Order Dated April 10, 2020, Effective Until May 10, 2020
The Mendocino County Health Officer has released a revised Shelter in Place Order that goes into effect at 10:00 P.M. on April 10, 2020. That order clarifies, modifies, and replaces the Shelter in Place Order issued on March 24, 2020. To help the public understand what’s new, the Health Officer is releasing this summary of changes.
Essential Businesses Must Post a Social Distancing Protocol On April 3, 2020, the Health Officer released guidance encouraging essential businesses to create and post a social distancing protocol for their customers and employees. The new order now requires essential businesses to do so by April 13, 2020.
Essential Businesses Must Scale Down This order clarifies that when a single business performs work that is both essential and non-essential, only the essential part of the business is allowed to remain open. For example, automotive dealerships are allowed to keep their service department open, but may not conduct in-person sales. The exception is retail—a retail business selling essential goods may continue to stock and sell nonessential goods at the same location.
Additionally, this order requires that essential businesses maximize the number of employees who work from home.
Some Parks Might Partially Open to Nearby Residents for Hiking, Jogging, and Similar Activities This order allows for some parks and recreation areas to open to nearby residents. This only applies to those locations that choose to open, and they must prepare and post a social distancing protocol before doing so. Until they have
Mendocino County Public Health
posted their social distancing protocol and other signage, these parks remain closed.
Please note that these areas will only be open to those residents who walk or bike from their house, or who meet certain other travel restrictions in the order. Additionally, they will only be open for limited activities, and certain areas in the parks will have to remain closed. Please carefully review and follow your local park’s social distancing protocol before entering.
Parks and other recreation areas pose a particular public health risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, because their normal uses draw people from different households for activities that have a heightened risk of spreading the disease. These new orders recognize that these places have an important role to play for exercise and health of the community but impose key restrictions to protect against the spread of the virus. The Health Officer, however, has recognized that it may not be possible to safely adhere to these restrictions in some locations, and has specified that individual parks might be closed on a case by case basis in the event of crowding.
Essential Activities are Clarified and Expanded The new orders make a number of clarification and modifications to which “Essential Activities” are allowed. A few key changes include:
• In addition to being permitted to walk, jog, hike or bike one’s residence, if it is unsafe for a person to do these activities at their residence or directly from their residence, a person may drive a short distance to the nearest location where they may safely exercise.
• The Order clarifies that sports or other activities that require the use of shared equipment are not permitted, unless the use of the equipment can be limited to only the members of a single household or living unit.
• Funerals with no more than 10 individuals present, and at which members of different households or living units maintain social distancing from each other.
• The Order adds that moving residences when it is not possible to defer a move, is an essential activity.
Permissible Construction has Been Clarified
The types of construction that are permitted has been refined to allow the following categories:
• Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure;
• Projects associated with Healthcare Operations, including creating or expanding Healthcare Operations, provided that such construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response;
• Public works projects;
• Shelters and temporary housing;
• Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non- commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;
• Construction necessary to ensure that existing construction sites that must be shut down under this Order are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so; and
• Construction or repair necessary to ensure that certain buildings are safe, sanitary, or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed;
• Construction related to any Essential Infrastructure.
Essential Business is Clarified and Expanded There were numerous clarification and changes to the definition of essential business under the Shelter in Place Order. A few of the significant changes are:
• The Order clarifies that gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair include cars, trucks, motorcycles and motorized scooters, and that only the auto supply and repair portion of a car dealership is essential, but that the online purchase of vehicles, if the vehicles are delivered to a residence or essential business is allowed.
• The Order includes as Essential Businesses service providers that enable real estate transactions including rentals, leases, and home sales as essential businesses, so long as much business as possible is conducted remotely, and viewing are conducted only in compliance with the limitations provided.
• The Order includes as Essential Businesses arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals, but not for work done for purely cosmetic purposes.
• The Order clarifies that business that provide other essential businesses may not use their exemption to engage in sales to the general public from retail storefronts.
• The Order adds notary as an Essential Business, but only for non-elective, legally mandated activities.
Minimum Basic Operations are Clarified and Expanded The Order expands Minimum Basic Operations to allow for delivery or curb-side pick-up of existing inventory, and to allow nonprofit entities and other venues, such as concert halls, auditoriums, churches, temples, playhouses, to operate their venue with up to four people to record and/or livestream and event, if social distancing rules are followed, including maintaining at least six feet social distancing from other individuals (physical distancing not required for members of the same household), frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer that is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as effective in combatting COVID-19, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, not shaking hands, and those who are not on camera, to wear facial coverings as much as possible, and singing and the use of wind instruments are permitted only if the recording is done at one’s residence and involves only the members of one’s household or living unit.
Essential Travel is Clarified and Expanded The Order adds several categories of Essential Travel, including:
• Travel to manage after-death arrangements and burial;
• Travel to arrange for shelter or avoid homelessness;
• Travel to avoid domestic violence or child abuse;
• Travel for parental custody arrangements; and
• Travel to a place to temporarily reside in a residence or other facility to avoid potentially exposing others to COVID-19, such as a hotel or other facility provided by a governmental authority for such purposes.
And here is the press release issued by Mendocino Public Health:
Mendocino County Health Officer Issues Revised Shelter-In-Place Order
Post Date: 04/10/2020 11:43 AM
On March 18, 2020, Dr. Noemi Doohan, Mendocino County’s Public Health Officer issued the first Sheltering in Place (SIP) order in alignment with the six big Counties of the San Francisco Bay Area who released their orders together 2 days earlier. The end date for this first Mendocino County SIP order, requiring all residents to stay home except for essential needs was April 7, 2020.
On March 24, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom released California’s Sheltering in Place Order which had an open-ended date and more restrictions than Mendocino County’s original SIP. County SIP orders can be more restrictive, not less restrictive, than the Governor’s order. On March 24, 2020, Dr. Doohan issued a new SIP order reflecting the increased restrictions mandated by the State and the open-ended date in the Governors order.
Today, April 10, 2020, the County Health Officer Dr Doohan issued a third revised SIP order that goes into effect at 10:00 p.m. today and will be in place until May 10, 2020. The major changes to the Order include new directives on essential activities including outdoor recreation, funerals, essential businesses, social distancing protocols for businesses and organizations, and live-streaming events. The order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents to closely read the order and follow it. The Order is available for review on the County website.
On April 3, 2020, Dr. Doohan released a guidance on facial coverings for the Public and Social Distancing Protocols for Businesses. The guidance documents work to strengthen the protective force of the SIP order. The new SIP order builds on these two prior guidance documents in the following ways, by example:
- Wearing facial coverings in public is strongly encouraged and made mandatory in certain instances such as during recreation in parks.
- The new SIP Order now requires Essential Businesses to create and post social distancing protocols.
All of the Health Officer’s COVID-19 SIP Orders are issued to ensure that the maximum number of people shelter in their places of residence to the maximum extent possible, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Order directs all residents to remain at their place of residence, except to conduct Essential Activities, Essential Business, and Essential Government Functions (defined in the Order).
This Public Health Order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most basic and essential needs, and prohibits transient lodging for non-essential purposes. To the extent that individuals must use shared or outdoor spaces, all must maintain social distancing of at least six feet between themselves and others while outside their residence and wear facial coverings to the extent possible. Our goal is to protect the public’s health by minimizing the devastating impact of this pandemic.
“While this new SIP order in no way means we are weakening our resolve as a County to Shelter-In-Place,” said County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan, “We do hope they will help make Sheltering-In-Place a bit more bearable by specifying an end date of May 10 and allowing some slight expansion of allowed activities. If our County is to survive this pandemic, it is critical that we all work together to continue to keep ourselves physically distanced from others to the extent possible. The end date of this SIP is not the end of the hardship ahead. All SIP orders are meant to be accompanied by limited reopening that occurs alongside expanded testing, increased health care surge capacity, isolation of cases and quarantine of their contacts in appropriate housing, and appropriate personal protective equipment for first responders and health care workers. Every day we SIP now and maintain physical distancing and wear facial coverings in public is a day we help contain this deadly disease and give us more time to prepare for the pandemic to hit us with full force. ”
Essential Activities (exemptions to the Shelter-In-Place Order) include:
- Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;
- Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food, and getting supplies necessary for staying at home;
- Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking or running provided that you maintain at least six feet of social distancing and be we within walking/biking distance from home (please note additional clarification is include in the order);
- Performing work providing essential services at an Essential Business or Essential Government function (defined below);
- Caring for a family member in another household;
- To attend a funeral with no more than 10 individuals (including staff) present, and at which members of different households or living units maintain social distancing from each other;
- Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons;
- To move residences, but only if it is not possible to defer an already planned move, if the move is necessitated by safety, sanitation, or habitability reasons, or if the move is necessary to preserve access to shelter.
The business community is advised to refer to Section 9 of the Order attached for the clarifications regarding essential business.
Violations of this Order are considered a threat to our county’s health, and adherence is enforceable by law. The Health Officer will continue to evaluate this rapidly evolving situation, and may modify this Order if needed.
- Keep a distance of at least six feet away from others
- Don’t shake hands
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often
- Don’t touch your face with un-washed hands
- Cover coughs and sneezes (into your elbow and away from others, not hands)
- Regularly clean high-traffic surfaces
- If you are sick stay home unless you need to seek medical care in which case you should call ahead
Here is a copy of the April 10 order, with new sections highlighted and sections that have been cut in strike-through text:
If this PDF doesn’t appear for some reason you can find the file here.41020ORDEROFTHEHEALTHOFFIC-3