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The Santa Rosa Police Department has begun issuing citations to businesses and individuals who are violating the county public health order to shelter-in-place.

In the last week, the department has issued 40 business written warnings, two individual written warnings and five misdemeanor citations to individuals, Police Chief Rainer Navarro said in a video release. Citations may result in fines up to $1,000 and up to six months’ jail time.

On March 31, Sonoma County Health Officer Sundari Mase extended the initial shelter-in-place order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 through at least May 3. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential activities, and only essential businesses are allowed to operate in-person.

While most community members are complying with the stay-at-home order, Navarro said, some are not.

“Our approach has been to educate, but it is now necessary to issue citations,” he said.

Navarro also said the police department has enacted “even stricter” disinfection and personal protection policies for its officers. For example, officers are wearing face coverings and gloves outside of their patrol cars.

“By now, we can all see that this is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.

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