Too Many Health Orders

We received four separate press releases from the County last Friday regarding the Covid-19 situation. 

The first one we have posted on our website as we have for all their previous pressers. But Friday it became laughably excessive. 

The first one (posted) from the Health Officer is entitled “Health Order Revised to Align with New Statewide Guidance” and is two single-spaced pages long. 

The second one was entitled “ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF MENDOCINO DIRECTING ALL INDIVIDUALS IN THE COUNTY TO CONTINUE TO SHELTER AT THEIR PLACE OF RESIDENCE EXCEPT FOR ESSENTIAL NEEDS AND IDENTIFIED OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN COMPLIANCE WITH SPECIFIED REQUIREMENTS AND THAT THEY MAY LEAVE TO PROVIDE OR RECEIVE CERTAIN ESSENTIAL SERVICES OR ENGAGE IN CERTAIN ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES AND WORK FOR ESSENTIAL OR LOWER RISK BUSINESSES, AND GOVERNMENTAL SERVICES; PROVIDING LIMITED EXEMPTIONS FROM THE SHELTER IN PLACE ORDER TO INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS; REQUIRING ALL BUSINESSES AND RECREATION FACILITIES THAT ARE ALLOWED TO OPERATE TO IMPLEMENT SOCIAL DISTANCING, FACE COVERING, AND CLEANING PROTOCOLS; AND DIRECTING ALL BUSINESSES, FACILITY OPERATORS, AND GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES TO CONTINUE THE TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF ALL OTHER OPERATIONS NOT ALLOWED UNDER THIS ORDER,” and this title was in all caps and bold font, kinda like the tinfoil hat nutballs but without the nine exclamation points at the end. 

However, this ALL CAPS ORDER had a subtitle, “Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120295, et seq., Cal. Penal Code §§ 69, 148(a)(1)).” 

Give me a break. Who in the the hell are they addressing? Do they expect “the media” to publish 30 pages of fine print that “the public” is required to “read carefully”? 

The third presser (yes, we’re not close to being done yet) is entitled “Summary of Changes: Updated Stage 3 Health Officer Order Shelter-In-Place Effective 3:00 p.m., June 19, 2020, Until 3:00 p.m., July 3, 2020.” This two page single spaced announcement from the Public Health Department is supposed to somehow help by describing the latest changes. 

It begins, “As the State and Counties (with Variances) move further into Stage 3, this week the State released a new Guidance for Personal Care Services, for reopening in Variance Counties no sooner than June 19, 2020. Consistent with that release, the Health Officer, issues an Updated Stage 3 Shelter-in-Place Order (SIP) to become effective 3:00 p.m. June 19, through 3:00 p.m., July 3, 2020. In addition, the Order was revised to account for the newly issued Order effective June 18, 2020, broadly requiring facial coverings statewide when in public or common spaces and which will apply to all industries (and all Guidances to be updated.) 

3pm! The changes are effective at exactly 3pm in the afternoon, not a minute earlier, not a minute later! 

As if we all read the previous orders carefully and now we will all be conversant with the “changes.” 

It continues, “In addition to these central changes to the Order, the Health Officer made some revisions to clarify the additional areas of the SIP.”

Why is this even necessary since we’ve already been “ordered” to read the latest health order “carefully”?

There also this helpful note: “Each Industry Reopened By Statewide Guidance Is Permitted Even if Not Specifically Mentioned In SIP.” (Their initial title caps.)

Got that? The “industries” (since when did massage parlors become an “industry”?) that they re-opened are also “permitted”! Great! 

Many in Mendocino County would probably be particularly interested in “Revisions to Transient Lodging.” 

But then we see that “Recognizing that some households include extended family in one household, the Updated Stage 3 Order is revised to state each room, unit, or Vacation Rental (regardless of size) may only be occupied by no more than one household or living unit, including up to no more than 4 adults and the children of that single household or living unit. Additionally, the Health Officer clarifies the purpose for the 24 hour vacancy between each separate occupancy (48 hours for Vacation Rentals), to allow thorough cleaning in a safe manner and disinfection between each re-occupancy. In the case of Vacation Rentals, the extra buffer is also needed for the extended stay of guests in the event of isolation or quarantine due to COVID- 19.” 

So, upon penalty of fine or imprisonment, somebody is supposed to make sure that each rented room does not have more than four people in it and that they’re all somehow related to each other! The night clerk at the Motel 6 in Ukiah is going to be very, very busy.

Oh, don’t forgot hot tubs. “Private hot tubs in such establishments, for use by only one household, are permitted, provided that they are drained and cleaned in between each reservation’s use.” Got that, tourists? You can’t get in the hot tub with anyone other than those in your “household.” No hanky-panky in the rented hot tub!

Any honest attempt to comply with these detailed and yet still vague rules is guaranteed to be worse than just staying closed. (For example, where is the additional cleaning and disinfectant staff etc. supposed to come from? DACA?)

Presser #4 is entitled “Requiring members of the public to wear Facial Coverings” 

Guess how many pages that is? Six (6!) more single-spaced pages of health orders to require facial coverings. In this one we’re told, “Certain activities cause people to more forcefully expel airborne particles, such as running, bicycling and singing, making the usual minimum six feet social distancing requirement, less adequate.” 

I don’t know about you, but I “expel airborne particles” whenever I shout at our hard of hearing editor. And I don’t care what they order or permit — I’m not wearing a mask when I yell at the editor. 

One of the many optional facial coverings is a “a neck gaiter” — whatever that is, a super-turtleneck I think, it doesn’t sound like a legitimate facial covering. Also they felt it necessary to inform us that “Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service” are allowed to take off the mask. Wow! Kinda hard to get a nose job with a mask on, apparently. They also insist that “facial coverings should be used only by one person.” And, “a construction worker, plumber, bank manager, or accountant, is not required to wear a facial covering if that individual is alone in a space not regularly visited by the public, but that individual must put on a facial covering when coworkers are nearby, when being visited by a client/customer, or at any location where members of the public or other coworkers are regularly present.”

Presumably, some office workers will brandish a sheaf of Health Orders at any alleged violators and shout (with mask on) “WHERE’S YOUR MASK?!” which will make for wonderful inter-office relations.

This fourth “order” concludes: “the Health Officer requests that the Sheriff and all chiefs of police in the County ensure compliance with and enforce this Order.” 

We await Sheriff Kendall’s response to this “request.”

We have just barely scratched the surface. Apparently, this ridiculous crap is why we need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on our own Mendo collection of health officials, the top one of whom lives in San Diego.

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