UPDATE 3/20 11:04 a.m.
On Wednesday, March 18, the Orange County Health Care Agency released an amended order to the one below that attempted to clear up confusion by clarifying that businesses except for those listed were allowed to remain open. The state’s “Stay at Home” order announced by Gov. Newsom Thursday night overrides the county’s order and directs California residents to not leave their house unless they are participating in “essential functions.”
Businesses necessary to support “essential functions” — including grocery stores, gas stations, banks, healthcare operations and hardware stores — will remain open during this time. Residents are allowed to leave their house to shop for groceries, receive medical care or go outside as long as six feet of social distance is maintained. The state’s order has no end date.
The state’s list of “essential activities” is similar to those listed below. Click here to view the official list of essential critical infrastructure workers.
Original post (3/17 8:31 p.m.)
If you go outside for a walk, do it alone. If you have to get beans at the grocery store — or any of the other dozen activities deemed “essential” by the Orange County Health Care Agency — maintain a social distance of six feet.
That was the message Tuesday from County Health Officer Nichole Quick who released the agency’s strictest order yet in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in OC. It prohibits social gatherings, calls for all bars to close, and orders restaurants to close onsite dining, but make food available through delivery and pick-up options.
There are 29 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the county, eight of which were spread through the community. This is an increase of seven cases since yesterday; community-acquired cases doubled.
“This is why the Public Health Order was issued,” OC Supervisor Andrew Do wrote in an email announcing the order. “More interventions must be taken now to require the public to practice social distancing, which can help prevent transmission.”
The order, which is similar to “shelter in place” orders issued by six counties in the Bay Area as well as the counties of Los Angeles and San Diego, is effective immediately and will last through March 31.
The agency tweeted late Tuesday that Orange County’s order is not a “shelter in place.”
Dr. Quick encourages healthy community members to run, hike, and walk their dogs as long as they do so alone or with close family while social distancing from others (6 feet).
— Health Care Agency (@ochealth) March 17, 2020
“We are taking these mitigation steps in line with a directive issued by Gov. Newsom to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Quick said. “We recognize community members may experience anxiety related to the social disruption caused by COVID-19, and want to encourage residents to reach out to loved ones using appropriate methods like telephone, video messaging, email and text.”
The order “prohibits public and private gatherings of any number of people,” but allows for gathering with the members of your household in your unit. The prohibition applies to all professional, social and community gatherings that are not engaged in activities deemed “essential.” For gatherings involving essential activities, it is recommended to, as much as possible, maintain six feet between all persons, except family members.
As this is a rapidly evolving situation, the agency advised the order may be revised and/or extended at any time.