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Order of the Health Officer C19-14: Appendix D – Parks Facilities and Use

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Appendix D: Requirements of the Sonoma County Public Health Officer Regarding Parks Facilities and use

Dated: June 5, 2020




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;
    • Cough;
    • Sore throat;
    • Shortness of breath;
    • Unusual headaches;
    • Severe fatigue;
    • Chills;
    • 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

(https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/#outdoor), the use of

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

this Order.

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: