Sonoma County Public Health Officer Amends Shelter in Place Order to Allow Additional Businesses to Reopen

Posted on May 22, 2020

County Seal

The following is a Press Release from the County of Sonoma – En Espanol

The Sonoma County Health Officer today amended the Public Shelter-in-Place Health Order to expand the list of businesses able to operate in the County as allowed by the State’s approval of the County’s Variance request to accelerate into Stage 2 of the Governor’s reopening plan.  The amended Shelter in Place Health Order will become effective 12:01 a.m. on May 22, 2020.

Under the Order restaurants may now open for outdoor dining only.  Facilities such as wineries, breweries and bars may also open for outdoor dining if meals are served. The outdoor activities are allowed as they pose less of a risk of virus transmission than indoor activities and patrons are limited at a table to members of the same household or living unit.

This Amendment also expands childcare to include summer day-camp programs and allows the conduct of drive-in ceremonies and operation of drive-in movies. The modified Health Order also now permits libraries to offer curbside pickup and clarifies that faith-based counseling may be delivered face-to-face when a virtual session via video or audio conference is not possible.

Among the significant changes are:

  • Restaurants and food facilities may offer onsite sit-down outdoor meals
  • Wineries, tasting rooms, bars, pubs, breweries and craft distilleries may offer: a) curbside pick-up, delivery, shipping; and b) sit-down outdoor meals in accordance with their land use permit and if the business has a food-facility permit (if applicable)
    • Questions pertaining to food-facility or host-facility permits? Contact Environmental Health at 707-565-6565 or\
    • Questions pertaining to land-use permits? Contact Permit Sonoma by email at
  • Summer day camps and other educational or recreational institutions or programs may provide childcare/supervision for children of all ages
  • Ceremonies (including graduations and religious activities) may be conducted with household members attending in closed motorized vehicles

All businesses and other entities covered under this Order must comply with local and State orders and guidance, including preparing, posting and implementing, social distancing, face covering and worker/consumer safety protocols at all operational sites. Details pertaining to these protocols are in Appendix A of the May 1, 2020 Health Order C19-09 that can be found here:

In addition, since businesses are required to have employees conduct a health assessment and temperature check before reporting to work, the County has developed an electronic application that businesses should be using called the SoCo COVID-19 Check. Currently, only the employee version is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The Department of Health Services version, which includes the employer component is currently in review and ready to be approved.

With regard to this app, the Health Officer is allowing until June 1, 2020 for businesses to implement this mitigation measure. The latest approved version, including the employer side will be available by then.

This expansion was made possible by the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) May 21, 2020 posting of the Sonoma County Health Officer’s Variance Attestation signifying that the County has met the State’s COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap criteria for accelerating the opening of lower-risk businesses and public spaces.

Newsom updated the criteria this week that allows counties to increase the pace of progression through Stage Two based on local health status and community preparedness criteria.

The Governor’s county-by-county variance guidance can be found here:

For more information about the Public Health Order, essential businesses, available County services, or updates regarding the public health emergency, please Residents may also call 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211 in order to text with a 2-1-1 operator. Additional updates are available on County of Sonoma (@countyofsonoma) social media.

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