Yolo County Increases Enforcement Measures to Prevent COVID-19 Spread
(Woodland, CA) – Effective immediately, Yolo County will increase implementation of enforcement measures focused on businesses and organizations to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the community. These efforts are an attempt to curb the recent increase in COVID-19 cases that have been seen both locally and across the State of California and will complement extensive ongoing efforts to obtain voluntary compliance through education and guidance.
Over the past four weeks, Yolo County has seen a significant increase in cases with the total number of confirmed cases in the County growing by more than 200 percent. Initially, the majority of these new cases occurred due to family gatherings. However, cases have also begun to arise amongst a cross section of industries including workplaces, education, social gatherings, and religious services. These increases display a shortcoming in implementing mandated health and safety measures, such as wearing face coverings and social distancing.
In an effort to protect the health of the community and curtail the increase in cases, the County in collaboration with the cities of Davis, West Sacramento, Winters, and Woodland have developed an enforcement strategy to ensure businesses and organizations comply with state and local health orders. Prior to the use of any enforcement measures, efforts will typically focus on providing education, resources and/or guidance to that business or organization on compliance. If violations or non-compliance continue, the following enforcement actions may be taken:
- Public Communication: Provide information to the public identifying any organization or business in non-compliance.
- Urgency Ordinance/Fines: Enforceable by the County. The County’s Board of Supervisors adopted an urgency ordinance on July 7 allowing for the enforcement of penalties for violating Public Health Orders ranging from $25 - $500 for non-commercial violators and from $250 - $10,000 for commercial violators. The ordinance is enforceable by the County within the cities, which may also adopt similar ordinances to expand the enforcement options available to their staff.
- Misdemeanors: May be issued by city police departments or Sheriff’s Office with prosecution by the District Attorney.
- Business Closure: Enforceable by County Counsel or the local Health Officer.
- Civil Action: Enforceable by County Counsel or City Attorney and may include seeking court orders to shut non-compliant businesses down until compliance is assured.
“The recent rapid spike in numbers of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 necessitates an increase in enforcement,” said Chair of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors Gary Sandy. “These efforts will primarily focus on those that fail to take appropriate measures to protect the public. It is in everyone’s interest to promote a safe and healthy environment. Fortunately, the majority of our Yolo County community has been supportive, aware and engaged. We are grateful for their support and cooperation.”
It is anticipated that, as has been the case over the past few months, local government education efforts will work in the vast majority of cases and that enforcement will typically proceed only when violations are severe or ongoing despite repeated counseling efforts. The County also continues to emphasize that all members of the community are responsible for adhering to the rules or guidelines that are set by these entities as well as practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering. Everyone has a role to play in keeping our communities safe and healthy, particularly to protect people who are considered high risk or have compromised immune systems.
Businesses can find resources, education and guidance by visiting the County’s Business Toolkit page at: https://www.yolocounty.org/Business-Toolkit. Residents are encouraged to contact the County to report any suspected violations of state and/or local health guidelines by a business or organization by using the “Shelter-in-Place Feedback Portal” button on the County’s webpage or directly at https://arcg.is/aCSDv.
For additional information about the County’s re-opening as well as state and local guidelines, visit Yolo County’s Roadmap to Recovery page at: www.yolocounty.org/coronavirus-roadmap. Residents can also call Yolo 2-1-1 for resource information. For additional updates follow Yolo County on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/YoloCounty/ or Twitter at: https://twitter.com/YoloCountyCA.