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Social Distancing Concerns Reported To Law Enforcement

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Sonora, CA — Over the weekend there were complaints voiced to Tuolumne County law enforcement agencies about people gathering too close around recreational hot-spots, and businesses re-opening too early.

Reviewing the weekend law enforcement logs, the Sonora Police Department received various calls from concerned residents about non-essential businesses opening in downtown ahead of the Governor lifting the Stay at Home order. Police Chief Turu Vanderwiel says, “ We received seven complaints over the weekend regarding social distancing violations at local businesses; five of which were businesses receiving their first complaints since the process began.”

Vanderwiel notes that the city determined early on that complaints regarding non-compliance violations would be handled administratively when possible, and not through the police department. He says complaints were all routed to the point person at city hall earlier today.

The city has stated that it will first warn businesses, and if problems persist, penalties could follow.

In addition, on Saturday afternoon, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office was notified about numerous people recreating at Pinecrest Lake, and the US Forest Serviced stepped in to investigate the matter.

Spokesperson Diana Fredlund says, “We do have law enforcement on site who are traveling up there on a regular basis, and checking on folks, and what we are finding is that when we let them know the area (Pinecrest) is closed, they move back out to locations (in the forest) that are open.”

Meanwhile, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office reports that concerns voiced about social distancing were relatively minimal over the weekend.  The logs note that on Sunday afternoon the office responded to a report of people allegedly failing to practice social distancing at a miniature golf course in Twain Harte. However, spokesperson, TCSO spokesperson, Sgt.  Robert Nikiforuk says the office found that the business had their customers “very spaced out” and there were no issues with social distancing observed.