• March 23, 2020 5:12 PM

Order of the Health Officer C19-04: Closing Parks

Order of the Health Officer C19-04: Closing Parks

Order of the Health Officer C19-04: Closing Parks 120 120 Sonoma County Emergency and Preparedness Information

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No. C19-04
Closing Parks to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

DATE OF ORDER: MARCH 23, 2020

Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code§ 120275, et seq.)

UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTIONS 101040, 101085, AND 120175, THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF SONOMA (“HEALTH OFFICER”) ORDERS:

  1. This Order is issued based on evidence of increasing occurrence of COVID-19 within the County and throughout the Bay Area, scientific evidence and best practices regarding the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable diseases generally and COVID-19 specifically, and evidence that the age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population of the County places it at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19.  Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in the general public, which is now a pandemic according to the World Health Organization, there is a public health emergency throughout the County.  Making the problem worse, some individuals who contract the COVID-19 virus have no symptoms or have mild symptoms, which means they may not be aware they carry the virus.  Because even people without symptoms can transmit the disease, and because evidence shows the disease is easily spread, social distancing consisting of a six-foot separation between people is currently required for all activity that is permitted by the Shelter in Place Order No. C19-03 and the Governor’s Executive Order, including outdoor activity.
  2. The scientific evidence shows that at this stage of the emergency, it is essential to slow virus transmission as much as possible to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed.  One proven way to slow the transmission is to limit interactions among people to the greatest extent practicable.  By reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this Order helps preserve critical and limited healthcare capacity in the County.
  3. This Order also is issued in light of the existence of 27 cases of COVID-19 in the County as well as one fatality, as of March 23, 2020, including a significant and increasing number of suspected cases of community transmission and likely further significant increases in transmission.  This Order is necessary to slow the rate of spread and the Health Officer will re-evaluate it as further data becomes available.
  4. This Order is issued in accordance with, and incorporates by reference, the March 19, 2020 Executive Order of the Governor (No. N-33-20); the March 17, 2020, Order of the Health Officer No. C19-03; the March 13, 2020 Order of the Health Officer No. C19-02; the March 4, 2020 Proclamation of a State of Emergency issued by Governor Gavin Newsom; the March 2, 2020 Proclamation of Local Emergency for the County of Sonoma issued by the Director of Emergency Services Declaring the Existence of a Local Emergency in the County Regarding Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19); the Declaration of Local Health Emergency Regarding Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) issued by the  Health  Officer; the March 4, 2020 Resolution of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma Ratifying and Extending the Declaration of a Local Health Emergency, and the March 4, 2020 Resolution of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma Ratifying and Extending the Proclamation of a LocalThis Order comes after evidence that the high volume of usage by the public of parks, beaches, and open space makes it impossible for persons to maintain the required social distancing, especially in those areas where recreational biking is allowed. This Order also comes after the announcement that parks in neighboring counties will be closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic creating a likelihood that persons living in those counties will travel to Sonoma County for outdoor activity and recreation.
  5. This Order comes after the release of substantial guidance from the County Health Officer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and other public health officials throughout the United States and around the world, including a variety of prior orders to combat the spread and harms of COVID-19.  The Health Officer will continue to assess the quickly evolving situation and may modify or extend this Order, or issue additional Orders, related to COVID-19.
  6. This Order comes after evidence that the high volume of usage by the public of parks, beaches, and open space makes it impossible for persons to maintain the required social distancing, especially in those areas where recreational biking is allowed. This Order also comes after the announcement that parks in neighboring counties will be closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic creating a likelihood that persons living in those counties will travel to Sonoma County for outdoor activity and recreation.
  7. Effective at 12:00 a.m. on March 24, 2020, and remaining in effect until this order is rescinded, amended, or superseded in writing by the Health Officer, all parks located within Sonoma County shall be closed to the public.
  8. “Park” means an area of land, beach or water open to the public for recreation, including walking, hiking, biking, relaxing, boating, and playing, regardless of ownership.
  9. Paved multi-use pathways outside of park boundaries remain open except to bicycles and horses.

It is so ordered:

Signed by Dr. Sundari R. Mase MD MPH, Health Officer of Sonoma County

Dated: March 23, 2020