By CapRadio Staff
Updated May 27, 10:50 a.m.
On March 17, Sacramento County first advised residents to stay in their homes unless absolutely necessary. The county followed that advisory up with a legal order on March 19, which was originally set to extend through April 7. That order has been extended multiple times, and is now in effect until county public health officials end or change it. It was last updated May 26.
The original order followed similar orders in other California counties to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The state of California issued its own order for all residents to stay in their homes on March 19.
The new orders usher in Sacramento County’s move to an expanded "Stage 2" of the state’s plan for reopening, which allows for dine-in restaurants and some other low-risk businesses to reopen with restrictions. The updated order also says residents should wear face coverings while inside public places and should continue to stay home as much as possible. It was updated again May 26 to allow for in-person religious services, salons and barber shops to reopen.
Here's what these orders mean for Sacramento County’s more than 1.5 million residents:
Why was the order issued?
As of May 22, there have been at least 1,272 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sacramento County and 56 deaths related to the virus.
But officials have said that without more testing it's difficult to know how many cases are in the community. They say that restricting contact between people is the only way to "flatten the curve" and reduce the number of people who get sick at the peak of an outbreak, which could overwhelm the health care system.
What does it mean to 'shelter in place'?
The order directs Sacramento County residents to continue to stay in their homes and recommends that residents wear face coverings in public places.
When does it take effect?
The most recent legal order went into effect May 26 at 11:59 p.m. and lasts until rescinded or amended by county health officials.
The county’s initial directive extended indefinitely before the first legal order took effect March 19.
When can I go outside? Can I walk my dog?
Engaging in essential activities is allowed (see full list below). That includes things like trips to hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, banks and gas stations.
It's OK to do things for a go for a run or walk your dog as long you practice proper social distancing, meaning you stay at least six feet away from people not in your immediate household. But that means you shouldn't closely socialize with friends or others who don't live with you (no dinner parties or play dates).
What activities am I allowed to take part in?
Sacramento County’s updated May 26 order allows new activities under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, so long as participants maintain social distancing. The activities now allowed include:
- Dining in at restaurants
- Taking pets to the groomer
- Taking cars to the car wash
- Participating in microenterprise retail or going to shopping malls
- Sending children to day care
- Working in person at small offices when telework is not possible
- Drive-through religious services
- Going to art galleries or outdoor museums
- Drive-through graduation ceremonies
- Going to hair salons and barber shops
- Religious services at 25% of building’s capacity, up to 100 people
- Political protests or political expression gatherings at 25% of the building’s capacity, up to 100 people
At this time, gatherings of any size are still banned.
These activities were already allowed under the previous order:
- Activities or tasks essential to the health and safety of you or members of your family or household (including pets), like obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional for medical or dental care for chronic conditions or preventive services.
- Obtaining or delivering necessary services for yourself or members of your family or household like canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, or cleaning products needed to maintain your home. This includes products required to work from home.
- Engaging in activities like walking, hiking, biking or running, so long as you comply with social distancing requirements. Some non-contact recreational facilities and activities that include the use of shared equipment are allowed, including shooting and archery ranges, disc golf, tennis courts and boating, provided that activities are in conformance with social distancing requirements and appropriate disinfectant processes. Contact sports or activities — including basketball, football and soccer — are prohibited outside of residences. Use of recreational facilities that encourage gathering — including outdoor gym equipment, rock parks, climbing walls, pools, spas and gyms — is prohibited outside of residences.
- Working at essential businesses, government entities and other nonprofit organizations.
- Caring for a family member or pet in another household.
- Attending a funeral with no more than 10 individuals present.
- To move to a new home, 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.
Can restaurants stay open?
Restaurants are now allowed to open for dine-in service. However, diners are only allowed to sit and eat with people within their household group. Restaurants must meet certain requirements to reopen, such as reducing diner capacity, having servers and diners wear masks and spaced out tables.
Previously, restaurants were only allowed to stay open for pickup or delivery, and bars, wineries, brewpubs and other non-essential businesses were asked to shut down. Sacramento's May 1 order allowed for food trucks to reopen.
Should I go to my medical appointments or scheduled procedures?
Under Sacramento County’s order that was updated May 1, hospitals and health care providers are now allowed to reschedule appointments for care that was previously not considered urgent and was canceled. That includes elective procedures and preventative services like immunizations and other chronic conditions care.
Whether or not your appointment or procedure has been or will be canceled or rescheduled is up to your individual provider, though. Start by calling them to see if you should still come in for your appointment or procedure.
Preventative dental care is now allowed to resume as of May 22.
Can I take my child to daycare?
Child care, day care and family day care facilities are allowed to open under Sacramento County’s updated order, so long as they put into place required precautionary social distancing, screening and cleaning measures. You can find the CDC’s guidance for open child care facilities here.
How will this be enforced?
County health officials have asked that the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and all chiefs of police in the county enforce the order, but does not list specific penalties for failing to follow the protocol.
I can't go to my job. What can I do?
Workers who have lost hours or whose workplaces have shut down due to COVID-19 can apply for unemployment insurance. So can people who have to miss work to care for a child whose school has closed. The state recently waived the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment insurance.
Those who have missed work to care for a sick or quarantined family member may be eligible for paid family leave through the state.
More information on unemployment insurance and paid family leave available through the state is available here.
How does this affect homeless people?
Homeless people are to follow CDC guidance for those living outside of shelters. People who are living unsheltered are allowed to remain where they are if they don’t have access to housing or a clear plan to transport themselves to housing.
Because clearing encampments would cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers, which would increase the potential for spreading COVID-19, encampments, cars, RVs and trailers being used as shelters are not to be cited, cleared or relocated during the outbreak.
These businesses are now allowed to reopen in Sacramento County as of May 26:
- Dine-in restaurants
- Pet groomers
- Car washes
- Microenterprise retail
- Shopping malls
- Agricultural food and beverage cultivation, process and distribution, open for retail by appointment only
- Plumbers, electricians and exterminators
- Arborists, landscapers and gardeners
- Small offices when telework is not possible
- Outdoor museums
- Child care, day care and family day care
- Art galleries
- Hair salons and barber shops
- In-person religious services
These businesses were already considered essential under the county’s previous ordered, and continue to be open:
- Healthcare operations (explicitly including elective procedures and surgery as long as the facility has its own personal protective equipment) and businesses that operate, maintain, or repair essential infrastructure
- Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of unprepared food, canned food, dry goods, nonalcoholic beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, as well as hygienic products and household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene or the habitability, sanitation or operation of residences. The businesses include establishments that sell multiple categories of products provided that they sell essential products, such as liquor stores that also sell food.
- 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)
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, social services and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals
- Newspapers, television, radio and other media services
- Gas stations and auto supply, auto repair and maintenance and automotive dealerships
- Bicycle repair and supply shops
- Banks and related financial institutions
- Service providers that enable residential transactions (including rentals, leases and home sales), including, but not limited to, real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries and title companies, provided that appointments and other residential viewings must only occur virtually or, if a virtual viewing is not feasible, by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit. These services must be carried out in compliance with social distancing requirements as defined in this order, to the extent possible
- Hardware stores
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation and operation of residences and essential businesses, but not for cosmetic or other purposes
- Arborists, landscapers, gardeners and similar service professionals, but only to the limited extent necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, operation of businesses or residences, or the safety of residents, employees, or the public (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition)
- Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes
- Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible
- Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers
- Restaurants and other facilities (including food trucks) that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out.
- Schools and other organizations that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so if the food is provided to students or members of the public for pick-up only. Food can't be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site.
- Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home
- Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries and crematoriums, to the extent necessary for the transport, preparation or processing of bodies or remains
- Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate, but only to support those businesses.
- Businesses that have the primary function of shipping or delivering groceries, food or other goods directly to residences or businesses.
- Airlines, taxis, rental car companies, rideshare services (including shared bicycles and scooters) and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for essential activities.
- Home-based care for seniors, adults, children and pets.
- Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults and children
- Professional services, such as legal, notary or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with nonelective, legally required activities
- Services to assist individuals in finding employment with essential businesses
- Moving services that facilitate residential or commercial moves that are allowed.
- Childcare facilities providing services that enable owners, employees, volunteers and contractors for essential businesses or activities to work as permitted. Children of owners, employees, volunteers and contractors who are not exempt may not attend childcare facilities.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.