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County of Sonoma Issues “Shelter in Place” Order

Posted on March 17, 2020


On March 17, the public health officers of the County of Sonoma, issued a legal order directing residents to shelter in place through April 7, 2020. The order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs.  The County has issued FAQ’s here.

Scientific evidence shows social distancing is one of the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable disease. The shelter-at-home order follows new data of increasing local transmission of COVID-19.

The intent of this directive is to ensure that people remain in their residences and minimize social interactions outside of their immediate family unit. However, you may leave your residence for reasons specified in the Order such as ensuring the health and safety of yourself and your family, engaging in outdoor activity that does not involve close contact with other people, obtaining services and supplies for yourself and your family, and to perform permissible employment functions.

This is an excerpt from the press release issued by the county (en español):

Essential businesses are those that provide food, shelter, social services and homeless services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals; fresh and non-perishable food retailers (including convenience stores); pharmacies; child care facilities; gas stations; banks; laundry businesses and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence.

Health care operations are also essential businesses and include hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, licensed cannabis businesses, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home health care services providers, mental health providers, or any related and/or ancillary health care services. 

Health care operations also includes veterinary care and all health care services provided to animals. This does not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities. Licensed cannabis retail facilities/dispensaries shall operate only for the purpose of providing medical cannabis, and only via curbside pickup or delivery.

Essential businesses also include: agriculture, food, and beverage cultivation, processing, and distribution, including but not limited to, farming, ranching, fishing, dairies, creameries, wineries and breweries in order to preserve inventory and production (not for retail business);

In addition, health care, law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.

Campgrounds, hotels and motels are considered shelters and therefore an essential service and will remain open.

The goal is to limit groups congregating together in a way that could further spread the coronavirus.

Petaluma parks remain open during this time as the mandate allows for outdoor activity such as walking, hiking, biking, or running, provided that social distancing requirements are followed.  City facilities, programs and events, however, are cancelled through the extent of the County order.

The City of Petaluma continues to provide essential services to the community, while regular services are limited. Click here for more information about how to access City Services during this time.

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