Sacramento County health officials have issued a legal order, effective as of 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, for all residents to stay home except for essential activities to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
The order is in effect through 11:59 p.m. on April 7, but could be extended. The previous directive did not specify when it would expire. Officials said that it is likely that the order will extend through April, and could extend through the summer months if the situation continues.
The legal order is based on the same social distancing directive issued earlier this week in the county, but this new order includes more detail as well as the ability for county officials to enforce the order. It requests that the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and all chiefs of police in the county enforce the order and ensure compliance with it.
“The violation of any provision of this Order constitutes an imminent threat to public health,” the order reads.
It limits activity, travel and business in the county to “only the most essential needs,” according to a news release from the county. It also means that residents should, if at all possible, stay home and only go into public spaces when it is absolutely essential.
The essential activities allowed under the order are:
- Activities or tasks essential to the health and safety of you or members of your family or household, like getting medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional or obtaining supplies to work from home.
- Obtaining or delivering necessary services for yourself or members of your family or household like food, groceries or other cleaning products.
- Engaging in activities like walking, hiking, biking or running, so long as you comply with social distancing requirements.
- Working at essential businesses, government entities and other nonprofit organizations.
- Caring for a family member or pet in another household.
- Attending private gatherings of six or fewer nonrelatives in a home or place of residence, so long as you abide by social distancing requirements at all times.
People experiencing homelessness are exempted from this order, but the order urges them to find shelter and for government agencies to provide it to them. For those who are unable to find shelter, the order recommends that they stay in encampments of fewer than 10 people.
All travel — unless essential (such as visiting sites listed below or engaging in activities listed above) — is banned under the order, including travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit. All nonessential businesses with facilities in the county are required to cease all activities at those facilities except for minimum basic operations.
Essential businesses include:
- Health care operations
- Grocery stores, super markets, food banks and other sites selling food, pet supplies and other household products
- Gas stations and auto-supply, sales and auto-repair shops
- Banks and related financial institutions
- Agriculture, food and beverage cultivation, processing and distribution (not for retail business)
- Businesses that provide food, shelter & other social services to the economically disadvantaged
- Newspapers, television, radio and other media
- Hardware stores and service providers like plumbers, electricians & exterminators
- Mailing and shipping services
- Educational institutions for distance learning so long as social distancing requirements are abided by
- Laundromats & other laundry service providers
- Restaurants, but only for delivery or take out
- Businesses supplying products people need to work from home
- Businesses supplying other essential businesses with support or supplies
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, and other necessities to residences
- Airlines, taxis & other private transportation
- Home-based care & residential facilities for seniors, adults or children
- Legal and accounting services when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities
- Childcare facilities carrying out services in stable groups of 12 or fewer children where children do not change from one group to another and where each group is in a separate room and not mixing with one another and providers do not switch between groups.
Sacramento County so far has 45 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and three people have died from complications related to the illness. The county health department also says that it is “clear that Sacramento County has community transmission of this virus.”
“The steps we have taken have brought us to the day where we must issue a legal Public Health Order in Sacramento County,” Sacramento County health director Dr. Peter Beilenson wrote in a news release. “We know we have far more ‘assumed’ positive cases than we have tests. As testing capacity increases, the number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases is expected to increase.”
This story is developing and will be updated
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