Stay home order extended

By Zoë Strickland, Staff Writer, Sonoma West Times & News, January 11, 2021


The Bay Area region, including Sonoma County, is under the state order until four-week projections show 15% ICU capacity

The state health department extended the stay-at-home order for the Bay Area region on Friday, Jan. 9, meaning all restrictions that have been in place for the region since Dec. 17 will continue.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), “Once a region’s four-week ICU projection shows a capacity of greater than or equal to 15%, the order will be lifted for that area … The state will assess the region’s ICU projections in the coming days and announce a formal decision on whether Bay Area meets criteria to exit the order.”

The Bay Area’s ICU availability is currently 3%. While Sonoma County is in the Bay Area region, the county’s own hospital capacity dashboard says that the county has 14.4% of its ICU beds available.

The state stay-at-home order went into effect on Dec. 17, five days after the county implemented its own stay-at-home order, joining multiple Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley in preemptively shutting down parts of the Bay Area. However, despite early acting, the county’s virus cases continue to rise.

“Our case rate and numbers are at an all-time high and some of our hospitals are already being pushed to extremes,” Mase said. “The fact that regional stay-home order for the Bay Area has been extended is further evidence of how quickly the virus is spreading in our region and throughout the state.”

The county per-day case average per 100,000 residents is nearly double what it was in December, and COVID-related hospitalizations have nearly doubled as well.

The extension of the health order doesn’t change anything when it comes to what people are and aren’t allowed to do (see sidebar for details), and maintains that residents should stay at home except for essential activities, such as work and grocery shopping.

“Sonoma County residents and businesses have endured so much over the past year, and I know that everyone is anxiously awaiting the time when we can finally return to a sense of normalcy and safely reopen our economy,” said Lynda Hopkins, chair of the Board of Supervisors, in a statement. “While we are hopeful that the vaccine will soon provide the means to end this pandemic, the virus is still raging through our community. We are asking everyone for a little more patience while we slow the spread and work through our vaccine distribution plan.”

SIDEBAR: What is and isn’t allowed?

Under the order, retail operations are allowed to continue at 20% capacity, or 35% capacity for stand-alone grocery stores, schools that have received waivers are allowed to continue operation, places of worship are permitted to hold outdoor services and restaurants are able to offer take-out, pick up or delivery. Hotels, vacation rentals and other lodging are only allowed to offer accommodations for those coming to the area for essential work or for COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures. The following operations are required to remain closed:

  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Personal care services
  • Movie theaters (except for drive-in theaters)
  • Wineries, bars, breweries and distilleries (except for operations related to production, manufacturing, distribution and retail sales for off-site consumption)
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums
  • Live audience sports
  • Amusement parks

Outdoor activities are allowed but only for the purpose of facilitating physically-distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise. Outdoor gym operations are allowed, but no indoor activities are permitted. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds are not permitted. Playgrounds may remain open to facilitate physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise.

This article was produced by Sonoma West Times & News, the hometown newspaper of Sebastopol and west county since 1889. See more news at