Sonoma County reopens today, June 15

By Katherine Minkiewicz, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, June 15, 2021

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Starting today, June 15, Sonoma County will align with the California Department of Public Health’s plans to reopen the economy and will remove all pandemic-related limitations on restaurants, taverns, movie theaters and other businesses.

After 15 months of COVID-19 struggles and solitude, Sonoma County residents will also be able to gather with friends, family and neighbors without limitations.

“Because of our tremendous progress in getting people vaccinated and bringing down our case count here in Sonoma County and across the state, beginning tomorrow, businesses will be able to open up fully for outdoor and indoor service,” Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said during a community COVID briefing on June 14.

Mase said this includes all restaurants, wineries, bars and breweries.

Movie theatres, gyms, museums, family entertainment centers and places of worship will also be allowed to open fully without limits and there will be no more limits on private gatherings.

“This is very exciting. I have been waiting to announce this for quite some time,” Mase said.

Masks will still be required on all forms of public transportation and will still be required at airports, depots, hospitals and at K-12 schools.

“I want to make it clear that neither the California Department of Public health, nor the Sonoma County Department of Health Services is going to require the wearing of masks in locations such as restaurants, stores or businesses. Guidance for the wearing of masks in places of business will come from CalOSHA, which is expected to make a ruling this week,” Mase said.

Mase said if you are not vaccinated you should continue to wear your mask, especially in public settings and group gatherings. And, while the state and the county are poised to finally reopen, Mase urged residents to remain cautious as the virus is still spreading, especially among unvaccinated individuals.

“It is too soon for us to declare ‘mission accomplished. We are still finding COVID cases in the community, especially in unvaccinated young people,” Mase said.

According to Mase, as of June 14, the county’s case rate per 100,000 people per day is 3.9, down from a high of nearly 50 in January.

Mase stressed that data shows that vaccinated people are well-protected and shouldn’t be concerned; however, folks who are unvaccinated should still remain cautious. According to county data, 86.5% of the COVID cases in the last 60 days were among unvaccinated people and the majority of the cases in that same time frame were among 20-to 39-year-olds.

Additionally, the number of new COVID-related hospital admissions remains low, however, there is an increase in admission among unvaccinated 18 to 49-year-olds.

COVID-19-related deaths have declined overall and of the 316 deaths in the county, only one was among a fully vaccinated individual who was over the age of 90 and had underlying health conditions.

Mase said COVID cases have been detected among less than 1% of fully vaccinated individuals in Sonoma County. “The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your community is to get vaccinated,” Mase said. “Please, if you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated.”

Sonoma County’s vaccine chief, Dr. Urmila Shende, said as of June 13, the county has administered 574,631 vaccine doses. 41,157 county residents have been partially vaccinated and 274,569 residents are fully vaccinated.

“It is an incredible accomplishment,” Shende said.

Vaccination opportunities

Mase reminded people that vaccine appointments are now plentiful.

“We have done a great job of getting shots into the arms of most of our residents, but our work is not done. We are in the long tail of our vaccination campaign and we will continue to reach out to offer this vital vaccine to anyone who wants it, in many cases bringing it to where they live, work and play,” Mase said.

This week, the county is hosting several pop-up vaccine clinics:

  • Andy’s Unity Park in Santa Rosa on June 14 from noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Coddingtown in Santa Rosa on June 17 from noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Finley Park in Santa Rosa on June 18 from noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa on June 19 from noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Windsor on June 20 from noon to 6:30 p.m.

This article was produced by SoCoNews. See more news at soconews.org