October 24, 2020
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So. Co. amends health order following changes to state framework for reopening

October 2, 2020

Sonoma County’s Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase, today issued an amended health order to align the existing local health order with the state's revised framework for reopening. The amendment to the Stay Well Sonoma County Health Order (C19-15), which was originally adopted in June, allows local businesses and activities to reopen as soon as possible under the state's new framework. 

Under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework, every county in California is assigned a tier based on COVID-19 test positivity and adjusted case rate. Data is reviewed by the state weekly, and counties are able to move to less restrictive tiers by meeting the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. With today’s amendment, businesses will not need to wait for future local amendments to reopen as Sonoma County moves to new tiers within the state’s color-coded tier system.

“We are making progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Sonoma County, and this amendment streamlines the process to allow businesses to safely reopen,” Dr. Sundari Mase, said. “However, it’s important to remember that this should not be seen as a return to normal. The virus is still not contained. We remain particularly concerned with those most at risk for serious health consequences and how the activities of those at lower risk can impact the most vulnerable.”

As an example, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Sept. 22 that nail salons may operate indoors with modifications for counties that are the purple tier, such as Sonoma County. This health order allows the adjustment to be implemented immediately in Sonoma County.

The amendment does not change any of the requirements for businesses and individuals under the existing health order that are designed to reduce transmission of COVID-19. One immediate change resulting from the amendment is an increase to the childcare group limit from 12 individuals to 16, consistent with the state’s cohort size limit. The amended health order also allows in-person student instruction at higher educational institutions when the county enters the appropriate tier, consistent with state guidance. 

Sonoma County is currently in the most restrictive tier in the state’s framework. As of this week, the county has 8.3 new daily cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate is 4.6 percent. The county needs to both be below 7 daily cases and have a test positivity rate below 8 percent for two consecutive weeks in order to move into the next less restrictive tier (red). 

For more information on State of California framework and guidance on reopening, including a list of what’s currently open in Sonoma County, please visit:

For more information about Sonoma County’s roadmap to recovery, please visit:

All current information related to COVID-19, wildfires, or other emergencies may be found at: