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Covid-19 Education and Enforcement

Tuolumne County Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko released updated orders for our county yesterday. The order specifically outlines what “essential travel” means and what activities “essential travel” includes. In addition to the clarification from the county health officer, the Bureau of Reclamation and the United States Forest Service have increased their efforts to close recreational access points throughout the county. Tuolumne County has been fortunate to have only one confirmed case of Covid-19. Our neighboring counties continue to battle the virus with Stanislaus County announcing 81 confirmed cases and Calaveras County with five confirmed cases.

Our goal from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has been education. We want to make sure our community understands the importance of limiting travels to essential business, practicing social distancing, and doing our part to slow the spread of this virus. We want to thank the majority of our community for following the state and local orders and we are grateful for their compliance and efforts. However, there is a portion of both local and non-local community members who are not mindful of the consequences of not following the orders; their actions jeopardize the health of Tuolumne County. With the health and safety of our community at the forefront of our mission, we are left with little option but to supplement our education efforts with enforcement action. We will utilize discretion and common sense, while basing each enforcement action on the totality of the circumstances and individual merit.

We will continue to utilize education as our primary method; however, we will also utilize enforcement to help shape the behavior of those who willfully neglect to follow the orders in place. Anyone who willfully defies the health officer’s order will be subject to a citation pursuant to California Government Code section 8665. The penalty includes a fine not exceeding $1000.00 and/or imprisonment not to exceed six months.

We cannot emphasize enough how much we appreciate the sacrifices everyone has made to ensure the health and safety of our families, friends and neighbors during these challenging times. Your partnership and support drive the Sheriff’s Office to continue serving our community with the highest level of professionalism and dedication.