Sundari Mase

Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase announced Friday that starting Saturday, June 6, in-person faith-based services, indoor retail shopping and dining, hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen in Sonoma County with mitigation measures in place such as facial coverings and social distancing.

Mase noted in a June 3 update that the hair and barbershop reopenings are limited to hair-only services, and do not include nail salons or other personal services such as facials.

“The order also allows outdoor recreation business activities and equipment rental,” Mase said in an update on June 5. “There are important limitations set forth with these new openings and all business sectors will be required to follow mitigation measures.”

Earlier in the week, Mase said the county was planning on reopening indoor faith-based services of up to 100 people, or 25% of a facility’s capacity — whichever is less — with mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing in place. Mase recommended that people over the age of 65 or those with underlying conditions be careful before attending these sorts of in-person services.

The updated order will also permit the reopening of public, semi-private and private pools in health clubs. She said health clubs may provide facilities for lap swimming and fitness classes when following certain provisions such as six-foot social distancing.

One major question that came up during Mase’s live update questioned whether or not folks can go to hotels, rent short-term vacation homes, or go on vacation and leave town. For now, the answer is “Not yet.”

“At this time the state of California has not released the shelter-in-place order and our order cannot be less strict than the state’s. That means people should not be traveling or leaving the county for non-essential activities,” Mase said.

In regard to hotels and the like, Mase said nothing is changing with the new order going into effect Saturday.

She said keeping lodging closed to tourists is an important factor in containing the virus.

“We are trying to limit people to travel from one county to another,” but lodging remains available for COVID-19 related purposes such as to house COVID-19 positive patients or for close contacts who need to isolate or quarantine.

“I know this is hard, I know vacation is beginning to feel like a necessity, but the virus will dictate when it is safe to get away and I hope that is very soon for all of our sakes,” Mase said.

During her brief update, Mase also made a clarification regarding the updated health order to allow for the reopening of beaches. She noted that parking lots at rivers and beaches are open, however, spaces are limited to promote physical distancing.

Residents are allowed to drive to a park but are encouraged to visit parks that are close to their home. Park restrooms are open unless there are maintenance issues and Mase advised that park goers carry their own hand sanitizer as not all park restrooms have hand sanitizer or washing stations.

As of June 5, the county has 624 confirmed cases, an increase of 14 cases in the last 24 hours.

Of the cases, 316 are active, 304 have recovered and there are still four deaths as reported. The current rate of positive cases 2.15%.

To further reopen the county, Sonoma County has to meet a testing goal of 750 tests conducted per day.

 “In order to control the virus, we have to know where it is and isolate people who have it so it doesn’t spread, in this way, testing is our path forward,” she said.

Mase strongly encouraged testing for high-risk groups. High-risk individuals include those working in healthcare, first responders, symptomatic people over the age of 65, symptomatic people with underlying health conditions and essential workers. Those who identify as high-risk can be tested at the public health lab in Santa Rosa and those not in high-risk groups can be tested at the OptumServe locations in Santa Rosa and in Petaluma.

Tests are free and insurance is not required to obtain a test. As of June 5, the county has performed 29,065 tests.

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