The statewide stay-at-home order is set to take effect tonight (Saturday) at 10 p.m. in California counties residing in the most restrictive purple tier – that includes Yuba and Sutter counties.
But area law enforcement agencies have no plans to enforce the order.
The California Department of Public Health made the announcement Thursday that “all gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households cease between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.”
Activities associated with the operation, maintenance or usage of critical infrastructure are exempt. The order does not apply to people experiencing homelessness. It does not prevent people from leaving their residence as long as they do not engage in any interaction with people from another household.
The order will remain in effect until Dec. 21 at 5 a.m., but may be extended or revised as needed, according to CDPH.
Law enforcement agencies in the region said they will continue with the same approach they’ve had during the pandemic and not enforce the order or curfew.
“We will not be enforcing the order and will continue to take an educational approach when needed,” Yuba County Sheriff Wendell Anderson said in an email. “We are referring callers and complaints to the YES Team and asking people not to call the sheriff’s office lines with COVID related complaints or concerns. We will continue to focus on crime and public safety as we have done throughout this pandemic.”
The Yuba Enterprise Support Team (Yes Team) was formed by the county to help residents and businesses deal with COVID-19 issues. It is largely a support group and doesn’t engage in enforcement.
In a statement posted on the sheriff’s department Facebook page on Friday, Sutter County Sheriff Brandon Barnes said SCSO will focus on protecting the citizens of Sutter County from the increase in criminal activity seen during the holiday season.
“The Sutter County Sheriff’s Office will not be taking enforcement action solely for violations of this order,” Barnes said. “We will continue to work in partnership with our community and to support each other through education.
Barnes said people concerned about compliance should contact the Yuba-Sutter Call Center at 749-7700 or email the Sutter County COVID Outreach Resiliency Effort (SCORE) Team at SCORE@co.sutter.ca.us. SCORE is the Sutter County version of the YES Team.
According to a news release, the Yuba City Police Department also said it would focus its efforts on the educational and informational aspect of preventing the spread of the virus. The priority of the department is public safety and crime occurring within our city.
“As with all calls for service, we prioritize calls for service based on the immediate concerns of life and safety,” the release read.
YCPD directed people to the state COVID-19 website, the call center and the SCORE Team.
The Marysville Police Department said in a press release that it will be focusing on educational opportunities as it relates to the new order.
“We urge citizens to not inundate the emergency dispatch centers with complaints or concerns,” the release read.
Residents were encouraged to call the YES Team at 749-5639 for general complaints and information. Businesses can call 749-5638 for assistance and personal protective equipment.
Agencies in Colusa and Glenn counties are taking a similar approach to those in Yuba-Sutter.
Glenn County Sheriff Richard Warren said in a press release that he decided that the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office will not be determining compliance with, or enforcing compliance of, any health or emergency orders related to curfews, staying at home, Thanksgiving or other social gathering inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy or mask mandates.
The department won’t dispatch deputies for those purposes either, according to the press release.
“Please understand this only applies to the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office. State, county or city agencies may be actively enforcing these orders and therefore violating these orders could subject the public to criminal and civil penalties up to and including imprisonment,” Warren said in the press release.
Colusa County was just moved from the orange tier back to the red tier, the second-most restrictive tier.
“We will be enforcing by communication and education,” Colusa County Assistant Sheriff Mike Bradwell said. “We will be referring complaints to the health department.”
Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said Yuba-Sutter is at an “impending crisis” and that gatherings with people outside someone’s household are not safe.
“I know that we all miss our family and friends, and having dinners, parties is our way to cope with the unrelenting stress of this pandemic, but we cannot do that right now,” Luu said. “Our hospital workers, our nurses, our doctors are counting on us to do the responsible thing – please think of them, please be kind to them by staying at home and not gathering.”
Luu said businesses should understand the risk of defying the order and not closing at 10 p.m., especially if they hold a state license. In May, state licensing boards visited local businesses that were in defiance of the state order at the time.
The educational approach to controlling the virus is the goal of local health officials, according to Luu. She said each individual’s actions can impact the community as a whole. Everyone should move through the community as though they have been infected and act accordingly, Luu said.
“Gatherings are how the virus is spread, and people have to understand that and choose not to partake,” Luu said. “One person making that important decision makes an impact in breaking the chain of transmission, as we’ve seen one person can go on to infect many others, and putting more at risk.”
Luu said with one of the largest holidays coming up in less than a week the situation could become much worse.
“I’m afraid the worst is yet to come,” Luu said. “... In these couple of months, it is imperative that we act responsibly, realize that each of our actions can either safeguard our community or lead it to a crisis.”