A San Diego County Public Health Order scheduled to expire on April 30 was extended indefinitely Thursday as the local leaders awaited guidance from the state of California on when they could begin to ease back requirements to "stay at home."
“The order is to expire -- that we had in existence today -- at midnight but we will be continuing it until the medical situation and the state’s guidelines allow us to end it,” Supervisor Greg Cox said.
Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten noted that San Diego was making progress towards meeting five requirements that would allow the county to begin easing regulations that were put in place almost six weeks ago to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has led to nearly 2,000 deaths across the state.
But the ultimate determination on when businesses could begin to reopen relied on the state meeting its criteria. So the order would be extended indefinitely until the state made a determination.
The county did announce modifications to the order that allow for more recreational activities, though, including boating, golfing and active group sports at parks but only among members of one household. Each city would be allowed to make their own restrictions but would not be able to ease them more than the county allowed.
Parks were allowed to reopen last week as long as cities could ensure their residents maintained social distance and only participated in passive recreation like walking, or jogging. The modified order would now allow active sports, like soccer, as long as it is with members of your own household.
Several activities were added to the list of what is allowed at local beaches. include hiking, horseback riding and bike riding where appropriate and at the discretion of local jurisdictions. On the water, body surfing, boogie boarding kite surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving were added to the list of what is allowed.
Parking lots, which were previously ordered to remain closed to prevent overcrowding, would be allowed to reopen with up to 50 percent capacity at parks only. Beach parking lots must still remain closed, the county said.
Golf courses that submitted a plan to the county for approval were allowed to reopen as soon as Friday with modifications. The biggest change came in the form of health screenings for golfers who wanted to enter the facility. Also, outings would be limited to groups of four and golf courses were not allowed. See more here.
The final modification to the order would affect every San Diegan -- a mandated face covering rule. Starting May 1, residents would be required to wear face masks anytime they come within six feet of a person who is not a member of their own household. For more on this, click here.
Wooten said that the modifications could be rescinded at any time of health officials felt the county's trajectory toward stopping the spread of COVID-19 was moving in the wrong direction.
To read the full San Diego County Public Health Order, click here.