Sonoma County has loosened some of the restrictions of its shelter-in-place order, allowing some businesses, including construction, landscaping, plant nurseries, and car and bicycle retailers, to resume operations.
The loosening of restrictions comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom this week has approved similar reopenings for some retailers and manufacturers across the state. Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says the changes, which went into effect May 4, are possible because of progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“Opening the County up further is contingent upon our ability to keep up our efforts and reach critical milestones,” Mase said. “Our latest data shows staying at home prevented community spread of the virus. It is important that we now work to scale up testing and contact tracing to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe.”
The revised order eases restrictions on construction businesses, real estate/rental viewing and the following essential outdoor businesses where transmission risk is lower: arborists, landscaping, gardening, pool maintenance, plant nurseries and environmental site remediation services. The order also clarifies that florists are considered essential agriculture and that their retail sales can occur only via curbside, delivery or shipping.
In addition, golfing is allowed, and automobile and bike retailers can operate.
Finally, the new order allows faith-based organizations to offer food, shelter, social services and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, and to provide counseling and host religious services through virtual streaming or similar technology.
Mase said she does not expect private or public mass gatherings to be permissible anytime soon.
The revised order does not have a specific end date, and can be amended as necessary. Mase will be working with the County Economic Development Board and industry leaders to develop specific COVID-19 mitigation measures to facilitate reopenings for all other businesses. Providing guidance to businesses is a component to move to phase two of the Governor’s Resilience Roadmap issued on April 28.
Visit SoCoEmergency.org to read the full Shelter in Place Health Order and frequently asked questions that have been developed to clarify the order.