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County officials stress stay-at-home order, acknowledge questions remain


Read the full article by Lyndsay Winkley on the San Diego Union-Tribune here.


County officials emphasized Friday the importance of adhering to the state’s new order for all residents to stay at home when they can.

But they did not provide much extra context about what that means specifically for certain businesses and organizations in the San Diego County region.

Thursday evening California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all individuals to stay in their residences "except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.”

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher acknowledged that residents are likely to have specific questions about the state’s order but said the county is not in position to be the arbiter on those cases. Instead, he directed them to the state's COVID-19 resource page.

“We are not in a position as the County of San Diego to speculate on who is or is not covered by the governor’s order," Fletcher said. "The governor’s order speaks for itself. Questions … are best directed to the state of California.”

The state identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors, ranging from dams and emergency services to communications and government, that are exempt from the order.

Fletcher said if a San Diego County business or organization does not fall within an identified sector, then that business is not allowed to operate anywhere in the state — including in San Diego County.

If a business does fall within those critical sectors, Fletcher clarified, then employees who collect in that office for work do not count as a mass gathering.

Although the county has banned all non-essential gatherings of 10 people or more, a company with 50 employees would not be disobeying that order, Fletcher said. That same company, however, would not be allowed to host a group of 10 visitors, for example.

Fletcher said employees who are not able to work remotely should practice social distancing while in the office with others.

He added that there are certain activities that residents are still able to do, like go to a gas station, grocery store or bank. Residents can still go for walks or go to a park with live-in family members, as well.

Residents are not allowed to engage in activities that have been barred by the county in previous orders, such as dining in restaurants, going to bars, working out at a gym and attending a conference.

“We are asking the public to join with us in this effort. Each and every one of us is on the front lines of having the ability to stand together and fight the spread of this,” Fletcher said.