(Photo illustration by Fernando Zhiminaicela/Pixabay)

Sonoma County will be joining six other Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley in adopting the state’s COVID-19 stay-home order, according to a county spokesperson.

The local order, which will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, adopts the restrictions contained within California’s recently announced regional stay-at-home order, said Paul Gullixson, a county spokesperson.

The order states that Sonoma County residents will be directed to stay at home except for work, shopping or other essential activities, including medical appointments, as allowed by the state’s regional shelter in place order.

All sectors, not including retail and other essential operations, must be closed. Outdoor recreation will be allowed.

The new restrictions will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9.

“Although Sonoma County has fared better until now than other parts of the state in terms of demand on our hospitals, we have been seeing an alarming increase in cases and hospitalizations in recent days, and this is putting increased strain on our medical resources,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s Health Officer. “Given that, we feel we have no choice but to join the other Bay Area counties in preemptively adopting the governor’s Stay-Home order, which is already in effect for most of the state. We have to take action now.”

Mase added that Sonoma County cases have doubled in recent days and are now averaging nearly 25 cases per 100,000 people with a 14-day average of 343 cases per 100,000. This figure is higher than at any point since the pandemic began in mid-March.

“We also are seeing a wider geographic spread of infection,” Mase said. Much of these increases are due to the surge in cases that is spreading across the nation as well as large gatherings that have occurred locally including over Halloween and Thanksgiving, she said.

Under the new order, retail services will be allowed to continue at 20 percent capacity, or 35 percent capacity for stand-alone grocery stores. Schools that have received waivers can continue operating. Places of worship will still be permitted to have outdoor church services.

As for restaurants, they will be allowed to offer take-out, pick-up and delivery.

The following operations will be required to cease indoor and outdoor services during the new stay-home order: hair salons and barbershops; personal care services; movie theaters (except drive-in theaters); wineries, bars, breweries and distilleries; family entertainment centers; museums, zoos and aquariums, and; live audience sporting events.

The health order is available on the Sonoma County website at https://socoemergency.org/order-of-the-health-officer-c19-17-implementing-the-terms-of-the-regional-stay-at-home-order/. Residents can learn more about what activities are restricted by visiting https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/.