Contra Costa County has issued a change to the shelter-in-place health order. The change will allow people to have outdoor car gatherings starting May 19.
Gatherings, in which participants must remain in their cars, are allowed as long as organizers follow instructions.
The change provides new options for religious organizations that have been unable to legally hold worship services since COVID-19 began spreading in the county. The plan also will allow schools to hold graduation ceremonies.
‘We must remain cautions’
According to Contra Costa Board of Supervisors Chair Candace Anderson: “The evidence suggests that the shelter-at-home order and other social distancing measures that we have undertaken as a community are helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our area.” She added, “We must remain cautious, but the time has come for some controlled community gatherings.”
Gatherings permitted by the new order would take place in large, outdoor areas such as parking lots. The can go on for three hours or less. Except for the host and staff running the gathering, participants would attend in enclosed vehicles. Motorcycles are not allowed. And each vehicle may only hold members from the same household.
Each gathering must have a designated host, permission from the property owner and a written plan to ensure physical distancing and other safety requirements are followed. For gatherings larger than 10 vehicles, the host is required to provide security for traffic and safety purposes.
The order includes guidance for allowing participants to use on-site restrooms and transfer of items such as diplomas. Sale of food or concessions is not permitted, and attendees must wear face coverings if they roll down the windows.
“We have made a lot of progress this spring, but COVID-19 is still circulating in our community,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, county health officer. “We are carefully tracking data related to infections and hospitalization to determine when and how to gradually ease social restrictions in the health orders.”
Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus to read the order, which includes the details of the required gathering plan, and for COVID-19 health information and updates for Contra Costa County.