Sonoma County will slide a bit deeper into its next phase of reopening this week. On Tuesday, June 2, Sonoma County Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase announced that she’s OK’d the reopening of coastal parking lots and daytime visiting hours at beaches. The county has also indicated that it plans to allow additional businesses to open or expand their operation in the coming days.
The amended health order allows for the reopening of all parks, trails and recreation areas in the county, including private ones such as tennis clubs and homeowners’ associations.
The order allows people to partake in low-risk recreational activities, such as hiking, walking, fishing, surfing and relaxing on beaches. While county parks agencies are allowed to open beaches, areas such as playgrounds, dog parks, barbecues, picnic areas and recreational campgrounds are not included in the amendment and are expected to remain closed.
“Visiting beaches for our physical and mental health is possible if we stay diligent about social distancing, wearing face coverings when we come near other park users and staying home if we have any COVID-19 symptoms,” Mase said in a statement. “We must continue to slow the virus’ spread to protect our vulnerable residents and our healthcare resources.”
Though the coast is being reopened, people are still expected to adhere to social distancing and mask-wearing protocol.
Board of Supervisors chair Susan Gorin echoes Mase’s sentiment, noting that the county is pleased that people will be able to take a break from sheltering at home to visit the coast.
“Reopening the beaches is a milestone for our community — we know many people have waited patiently for this day,” said Bert Whitaker, director of Sonoma County Regional Parks. “We’re committed to keeping coastal parks open this summer, and we appreciate the public’s support for health guidelines that are meant to protect us all.”
On the horizon, Mase also announced, is the possible reopening of additional private businesses, such as barbershops and in-person shopping. While the county is anticipating allowing additional businesses to reopen by Saturday, June 6, the reopening is dependent on how cases of COVID-19 progress in the coming days.
“We don’t have a lot of details quite yet,” said Rohish Lal, a public information officer for the county’s health services department during a town hall hosted by Northern California Public Media Tuesday night.
“So far the data looks good and we’re targeting for Saturday,” he added, noting that additional information will be released as Saturday approaches.