The County’s Health Orders and Guidance are updated as needed based on changing State requirements and current local needs as determined by the County Health Officer. In order to see the most current orders that may supersede any previous order, please view local orders and guidance, and state orders.
The public can see what’s open and what’s closed in Sonoma County to find more details on what businesses are currently open in Sonoma County. The California Blueprint for a Safer Economy provides information on the state’s criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities.
Appendix D: Requirements of the Sonoma County Public Health Officer Regarding Parks Facilities and use
Dated: June 5, 2020
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTIONS
101040, 101085, AND 120175, THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF SONOMA
(“HEALTH OFFICER”) ORDERS:
a. These Requirements, being issued, as part of the Sonoma County Health Officer’s Shelter in
Place Order No. C19-14, dated June 5, 2020, governs Parks Facilities and Use. These
requirements are intended to facilitate additional parks’ access due to the demonstrated
commitment of the community in maintaining social distancing on park property and the
success of the Shelter-In-Place Order in interrupting community transmission of the
COVID19 virus. The Order and this Appendix further recognize the critical role parks and
open space lands play in maintaining the physical, emotional and mental health of our
b. Order No. C19-14, including this Appendix, rescinds, supersedes and replaces the June 2,
2020, Order of the Health Officer “Closing Parks to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19”
(Order No. C19-14.)
c. The intent and effect of this Appendix is to allow limited use of Parks for lower risk outdoor
recreation and exercise to sustain residents’ physical and mental health including walking,
jogging, hiking, biking and other outdoor activities where individuals and households can
exercise with protective safeguards (e.g., Face Coverings and distancing) and safety guidance
to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
d. For purposes of this Appendix, “Park” means an area of land, beach or water open to the
public for recreation, including but not limited to walking, hiking, biking, horseback riding,
relaxing, boating, fishing, and playing, regardless of ownership. This includes private
facilities that are open only to a limited segment of the public, such as tennis clubs,
homeowners’ associations, or other facilities that can be used for outdoor recreation by more
than one household unit.
e. The purpose of this amended Appendix is to allow County residents more access to Parks for
outdoor recreation and exercise, with restrictions sufficient to prevent crowding and virus
transmission. It also provides the flexibility for quick re-closures and additional constraints
if problems develop with overuse, virus transmission, crowding, neighborhood impacts, or
violations of the conditions of this Appendix.
With that context, Parks may be opened to access, under the following limitations:
i. Parking opportunities may be physically limited by Parks managers to conservatively
provide for physical distancing in parking lots and at trailheads and other access
points. While driving to Parks is allowed under this Appendix, Parks users are still
encouraged to stay close to home and limit their time and interactions with others in
public, and to initiate their visits from their place of residence if possible, via
walking, hiking or biking;
ii. The use of Park recreational areas or facilities which contain high-touch equipment or
that encourage gatherings, including, but not limited to, playgrounds, outdoor gym
equipment, picnic areas, drinking fountains, and barbecue areas, are prohibited, and
all such areas shall remain closed to public access. Park owners shall post and, where
appropriate, install physical barriers to access such areas. Failure to do so does not,
however, excuse violation of this Order and Appendix by users of the Park, trail or
iii. Every potential Park user must conduct a self-assessment of their health and shall not
enter a Park if they have any of the following symptoms consistent with COVID-19:
- Fever of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or greater;
- Sore throat;
- Shortness of breath;
- Unusual headaches;
- Severe fatigue;
- Gastro-intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or stomach cramps; or
- Loss of sense of smell or taste.
iv. If the potential Park visitor has had direct contact with a COVID-19 positive
individual(s) in the past 14 days that person shall not enter a Park, and should contact
their primary health care physician for further instructions.
v. In addition to compliance with the requirements of the social distancing and hygiene
protocols in the Shelter in Place Order (No. C19-14), the following additional social
distancing and hygiene protocols must be adhered to at all times within any Park.
All persons must:
i. Maintain a minimum six-foot distance from persons who are not part of the
same household or living unit;
ii. Carry Face Coverings with them at all times, and wear them in all
circumstances required by the Health Officer’s Order No. C19-14, including
specifically if or when unable to maintain a six-foot distance from others
(such as when passing on a trail);
iii. Not use any facilities or equipment that are closed; and
iv. Not engage in sports or other activities that involve the use of shared
equipment with individuals or groups outside of the person’s household.
vi. Consistent with the Governor’s Guidance on outdoor recreation
shared facilities for some recreational activities outside of residences, including, but
not limited to, golf courses and golf driving ranges, tennis, bocce and pickle ball
courts, water sports, sports fields, climbing walls, shooting and archery ranges, disc
golf, basketball courts, and boat launches, shall be closed unless, on a Park by Park
basis, the Park owner determines that the particular facility can safely be operated
consistent with social distancing and hygiene requirements of Order No. C19-14 and
this Appendix. If any such facilities are open, they may only be used by individuals
alone or in a group comprised solely of individuals from the same household, except
as otherwise expressly provided allowed by Order No. C19-14 and the related
f. In order to relieve the pressure on inland Parks, and to provide for greater opportunities for
the community to participate in safe outdoor recreational activities, all Coastal Zone Parks
may also be reopened at this time, subject to the provisions and limitations in this Appendix,
as well as the Health Officer’s Order No. C19-14, and all other applicable State and County
Orders relating to the pandemic.
g. All restrictions in this Appendix as they relate to access shall be subject to reasonable
accommodation to provide for disabled access.
h. Recreational fishing is permissible only if:
a. It is in a Park that is open and permits recreational fishing;
b. Includes only members of the same household;
c. Is conducted in compliance with the social distancing and hygiene requirements of
Order No. C19-14 and its Appendices; and
d. All other licensing or other applicable regulatory requirements are met.
i. Community Gardens can be operated as agricultural operations providing food for
participants, but only if they are operated in compliance with the following additional social-
distancing and hygiene protocols:
a. They may be operated only for the purpose of food growth/production;
b. Soap and running water will be available;
c. There can be no more than one person in a garden at a time, unless it is sufficiently
large to accommodate more than one person while maintaining at least six feet of
distance at all times;
d. All garden entry and use shall be subject to the health and exposure self-assessment
limitations set out in section “e.iii” and “e.iv” above;
e. Masks must be worn in order to allow more than one person at a time in a garden, in
addition to maintaining the six feet of distance between gardeners;
f. Gardeners are strongly encouraged to bring their own tools;
g. All tools used will be cleaned with a CDC recommended disinfected after each use
and will not be shared throughout the day;
h. Gardeners must use their own gloves;
i. Signage will be displayed at all entrances to the garden with these rules; and
j. Benches and other communal spaces will be marked as off-limits for the duration of
j. Each and all Park owners are free to decide whether to re-open their Parks under the limited
authority provided for in this Appendix. If a Park is re-opened, however, the Park
owner/manager shall adopt Social Distancing Protocols consistent with Order No. C19-14
and this Appendix, and shall post them, along with this Order, prominently in all locations
most likely to be seen by visitors.
k. Outdoor recreation and sports activity business, recreational equipment businesses, and
guided or chaperoned recreational activities are all governed by Section 17.b. of the Shelter
in Place Order, in coordination with the terms of this Appendix regarding Park Facilities and
Use. To the extent any inconsistencies, or apparent inconsistencies, arise, the stricter of the
two shall control, in favor of protection of the public health and safety.
l. Child care, summer camp programs, and other educational or recreational activities are all
governed by Section 17.b.iii. of Order No. C19-14, in coordination with the terms of this
Appendix regarding Park Facilities and Use. To the extent any inconsistencies, or apparent
inconsistencies, arise, the stricter of the two shall control, in favor of protection of the public
health and safety.
m. Interpretation of this Appendix should take into consideration that the intent is to allow brief
respite from our homes for limited periods. Longer and more frequent outings inherently
come with greater risk of virus transmission.
n. Vulnerable populations should use particular discretion and best judgment, in traveling to
places where they may be in contact with others. Engaging in the outdoor activities allowed
under this Order should be undertaken with extra caution, or perhaps avoided altogether, to
minimize risks associated with contracting COVID-19. Vulnerable populations include
people that are 65 or older, have high-risk conditions such as chronic lung disease or other
respiratory ailments, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised, or are severely obese.
o. In the event of crowding, widespread non-compliance with the limitations of Order C19-14
or this Appendix, or other evidence of activities presenting an unacceptable risk of spread of
COVID-19 through Park use, any or all Parks may be closed again in their entirety or on a
case-by-case-basis by the Health Officer, or by the individual Park owner, including but not
limited to County Parks as determined by the Director of Regional Parks, as needed.
p. Further revisions to this Order may be made, as necessary to maintain public health,
consistency with the Governor’s Guidance and Orders, and/or as otherwise needed to
implement additional safety guidance or provide for additional recreational activities as
approved by the Health Officer.
q. Additional information about this Appendix can be found at: