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Doohan Revises SIP

Mendocino County Health Officer Issues Revised Shelter-In-Place Order

Post Date: 04/10/2020 11:43 AM

On March 18, 2020, Dr. Noemi Doohan, Mendocino County’s Public Health Officer issued the first Sheltering in Place (SIP) order in alignment with the six big Counties of the San Francisco Bay Area who released their orders together 2 days earlier. The end date for this first Mendocino County SIP order, requiring all residents to stay home except for essential needs was April 7, 2020.

On March 24, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom released California’s Sheltering in Place Order which had an open-ended date and more restrictions than Mendocino County’s original SIP. County SIP orders can be more restrictive, not less restrictive, than the Governor’s order.  On March 24, 2020, Dr. Doohan issued a new SIP order reflecting the increased restrictions mandated by the State and the open-ended date in the Governors order. 

Today, April 10, 2020, the County Health Officer Dr Doohan issued a third revised SIP order that goes into effect at 10:00 p.m. today and will be in place until May 10, 2020. The major changes to the Order include new directives on essential activities including outdoor recreation, funerals, essential businesses, social distancing protocols for businesses and organizations, and live-streaming events. The order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents to closely read the order and follow it. The Order is available for review on the County website

On April 3, 2020, Dr. Doohan released a guidance on facial coverings for the Public and Social Distancing Protocols for Businesses. The guidance documents work to strengthen the protective force of the SIP order. The new SIP order builds on these two prior guidance documents in the following ways, by example:

  1. Wearing facial coverings in public is strongly encouraged and made mandatory in certain instances such as during recreation in parks.
  2. The new SIP Order now requires Essential Businesses to create and post social distancing protocols.

All of the Health Officer’s COVID-19 SIP Orders are issued to ensure that the maximum number of people shelter in their places of residence to the maximum extent possible, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Order directs all residents to remain at their place of residence, except to conduct Essential Activities, Essential Business, and Essential Government Functions (defined in the Order).

This Public Health Order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most basic and essential needs, and prohibits transient lodging for non-essential purposes. To the extent that individuals must use shared or outdoor spaces, all must maintain social distancing of at least six feet between themselves and others while outside their residence and wear facial coverings to the extent possible. Our goal is to protect the public’s health by minimizing the devastating impact of this pandemic.

“While this new SIP order in no way means we are weakening our resolve as a County to Shelter-In-Place,” said County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan, “We do hope they will help make Sheltering-In-Place a bit more bearable by specifying an end date of May 10 and allowing some slight expansion of allowed activities. If our County is to survive this pandemic, it is critical that we all work together to continue to keep ourselves physically distanced from others to the extent possible. The end date of this SIP is not the end of the hardship ahead. All SIP orders are meant to be accompanied by limited reopening that occurs alongside expanded testing, increased health care surge capacity, isolation of cases and quarantine of their contacts in appropriate housing, and appropriate personal protective equipment for first responders and health care workers. Every day we SIP now and maintain physical distancing and wear facial coverings in public is a day we help contain this deadly disease and give us more time to prepare for the pandemic to hit us with full force. ” 

Essential Activities (exemptions to the Shelter-In-Place Order) include:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food, and getting supplies necessary for staying at home;
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking or running provided that you maintain at least six feet of social distancing and be we within walking/biking distance from home (please note additional clarification is include in the order); 
  • Performing work providing essential services at an Essential Business or Essential Government function (defined below);
  • Caring for a family member in another household;
  • To attend a funeral with no more than 10 individuals (including staff) present, and at which members of different households or living units maintain social distancing from each other;
  • Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons;
  • To move residences, but only if it is not possible to defer an already planned move, if the move is necessitated by safety, sanitation, or habitability reasons, or if the move is necessary to preserve access to shelter.

The business community is advised to refer to Section 9 of the Order attached for the clarifications regarding essential business. 

Violations of this Order are considered a threat to our county’s health, and adherence is enforceable by law.The Health Officer will continue to evaluate this rapidly evolving situation, and may modify this Order if needed.


  • Keep a distance of at least six feet away from others
  • Don’t shake hands
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Don’t touch your face with un-washed hands
  • Cover coughs and sneezes (into your elbow and away from others, not hands)
  • Regularly clean high-traffic surfaces 
  • If you are sick stay home unless you need to seek medical care in which case you should call ahead

Attachments:   Mendocino County Health Officer Order 4.10.20

                        Mendocino County Health Officer Order Redline 4.10.20

                        Health Officer Order Summary of Changes 4.10.20

For more on COVID-19:

Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email

The call center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.


  1. Joan Hansen April 10, 2020

    I hope this means I can walk along the ocean if there is not a crowd and if I keep the distance between myself and others. I need on occasion to walk my small dog where I can enjoy the therapeutic benefit of the ocean air and beauty. I am an old lady and I hope I will not have encounters with law enforcement.

  2. James Marmon April 10, 2020


    I was surprised to see this new order. The dangers of outside activities relating to Covid-19 spread has been all over the news today. Her order proves that she is uninformed and therefore she is creating a great risk for us all.

    Coronavirus spreads through the air outside with shocking ease, study says

    • Scientists say exercising outdoors in the age of coronavirus comes with many more risks than previously thought.

    • Walkers, runners, and cyclists should maintain large distances between one another — up to 66 feet in some cases — to avoid spreading the virus to one another.

    • Social distancing guidelines for indoors should not be taken at face value when planning for outdoor exercise.

    The issue here is that the six-foot rule works great if it’s being followed indoors, with little to no movement between individuals. The idea is that the virus can’t travel very far in an indoor environment before falling to the ground or simply remaining stagnant in the air.

    However, outdoor trails present a unique challenge, as individuals are breathing heavily and potentially even coughing or sneezing along the way. If a second person is following behind, even at what would be considered a “safe” distance for indoor interaction, they would quickly come into contact with particles in the air that could contain the virus.

    The scientists ran simulations to determine how serious this risk really is, with virtual exercisers traveling behind one another and the computer tracking the air stream surrounding them. What they found was that you don’t have to be right next to an infected person or even directly behind them to be at risk, depending on the kind of exercise you’re doing.

    Based on the simulations and data, the team suggests that individuals who are walking outdoors should maintain a minimum of four meters (13 feet) of separation. Runners and casual bikers should try to stay at least 10 meters apart (33 feet), and fast cyclists should attempt to remain at least 20 meters (66 feet) from others using the same trails. The researchers also note that avoiding the direct path of the person in front of you is vital, even when maintaining these distances.

    James Marmon MSW

  3. Lindy Peters April 10, 2020

    Regarding County update April 10 on Possible Park Openings: The City of Fort Bragg will not be opening up the Coastal Trails for Easter Weekend. Please don’t drive here expecting them to be open. This is in the best interest of our community’s health. Look for a press release soon. Things may change, however no changes in our policies will occur until the full Council convenes on Monday night.
    Councilman Lindy Peters

  4. Loren Rex April 10, 2020

    All State Parks and Beaches in Mendocino and Sonoma County remain closed.

    State Parks has developed a one-stop resource center – — to find park safety and closure information, and messaging and graphics from the “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” social media awareness campaign. Please check this webpage regularly, as it will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

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