I know it is hard to escape the news about Covid-19. It seems that daily we are reminded of its impacts to the world and our community. Whether it be the county health statistics, news of a business closing its doors, or additional restrictions - we’re all suffering from Covid-19 exhaustion. Now is not a time to relax our efforts.
Coronavirus is continuing to spread rapidly in Sonoma County – despite the good efforts of many of our community members. The hard truth is that our case rate is high, and we don’t have a lot of space for people who are really sick. We understand your frustration. We’re frustrated, too. We’re all experiencing the fatigue of sheltering at home, not seeing our friends and extended families, missing weddings, birthday parties, celebrations, and, sadly, even funerals.
Because of our increased rate of transmission, Sonoma County was placed on California’s watch list early last month. This action reversed our reopening process, closing business sectors that had already opened. We won’t be able to restart the process until our case rate declines and we have more capacity in area hospital ICUs.
Our increase in transmission rates is tied to violations of existing health orders. Health order violations present an immediate threat to public health and safety. Allowing violations to continue unchecked will result in preventable illnesses and deaths and will overwhelm our health, economic, and social systems.
The County of Sonoma has announced new civil enforcement penalties for those found in violation of the county’s pandemic health orders. The new rules will see the issuing of citations ranging from $100 for individuals and up to $10,000 for businesses for noncompliance with local and state health orders related to the coronavirus.
Under the new order, fines of $100 can be issued to individuals for infractions including:
Failure to wear facial coverings
Not practicing safe social distancing (maintaining 6-foot separations from non-family members) when in public
Taking part in gatherings of more than 12 people
Under the new order, fines can be issued to businesses for noncompliance, such as not requiring safe practices for employees or customers. A commercial violation is subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 for a first violation, $5,000 for a second violation and $10,000 for each additional violation by the same responsible party.
We will continue our public outreach and education programs to ensure our residents understand the health orders.
These new enforcement measures are intended to encourage safe behavior. To file a complaint, call 1-833-SAFE707 or email email@example.com. To learn more, please visit SoCoEmergency.org.
Thank you for doing all you can to reduce the rate of cases in our county. Let’s work together to help get our businesses reopened, increase the capacity at our hospital ICUs and get off the state’s watch list. Please follow the orders and stay well.