WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
To further combat the spread of COVID-19, Ventura County public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin has issued a “Stay Well at Home” emergency order — ordering all residents of the County of Ventura to stay inside their residences, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Residents of the County of Ventura are required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.” On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.
YOU CAN …
- Go to the grocery store
- Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
- Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
- Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
- Care or support a friend or family member
- Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
- Help someone to get necessary supplies
YOU SHOULD NOT …
- Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
- Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
- Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out, as possible
- Travel to or from a job outside the County, unless to perform essential activities
- Travel to or from a vacation home outside the County
- Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility
Is this order mandatory? What happens if I don’t comply?
Yes. This is a legally enforceable order. It is against the law to violate this Order, and you may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for doing so.
Why is this happening now?
This Emergency Order is being issued now because it is urgent that we slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 in the County of Ventura.
The virus spreads easily, and this Order is intended to prevent the spread of this disease from overwhelming our healthcare system. The goal here is to “flatten the curve” to slow down the spread of the virus and ensure we have adequate health care resources for those who get sick with COVID-19 and those who need emergency medical care for accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other routine medical conditions.
What is the difference between “stay well at home” and “social distancing”?
Stay well at home is a stricter form of social distancing. There are some differences. Stay well at home means:
- Stay home (stay unexposed)
- Only go out for essential services
- Stay six feet or more away from others
- Don’t gather in groups
The other concepts from social distancing will continue to apply when you are out shopping or walking or going to the doctor. These include washing hands, using hand sanitizer, disinfecting surfaces, not going out if sick, and staying at least six feet away from others at all times.
When does the Order go into effect and how long will it last?
- The Order goes into effect immediately after midnight, starting at 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 20, 2020. This Order shall be exempt, for a 24-hour period following the effective date above, to allow employees and business owners to access to their workplaces to gather belongings, so long as social distancing requirements are followed. Such workplaces shall remain closed to the public in accordance with this Order.
The Order is currently set to expire on April 19, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.. The duration can be either shortened or extended by the Ventura County Public Health Officer. We want to be sure the Order is in place for only as long as necessary, and the Ventura County Public Health Officer, in coordination with the Ventura County Public Health Department, will be closely monitoring the situation every day in order to determine what adjustments make sense.
What are essential activities and what businesses that will stay open?
The following essential activities will remain open:
- City/County government services:
- Police stations
- Fire stations
- Public Transportation
- Water, power, and gas utilities
- Public works construction, including construction of housing
- Airport and Port operations
- Gas service stations, auto supply, auto repair, bicycle repair shops and related facilities.
- Health care providers, including:
- Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
- Medical and scientific research
- Healthcare suppliers
- Home healthcare services providers
- Veterinary care providers
- Mental health providers
- Physical therapists and chiropractors
- Cannabis dispensaries, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services
- Manufacturers and suppliers
- Healthcare operations does not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities
- Food providers, including:
- Grocery stores
- Water retailers
- Certified farmers’ markets
- Farm and produce stands
- Convenience stores
- Warehouse stores
- Food banks
- Convenience stores
- Take-out from restaurants, drive-thru restaurants, and delivery from restaurants
- Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing
- Hardware stores and nurseries
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation to properties and other essential activities
- Banks, credit unions, financial institutions and insurance companies.
- Organizations and businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, (including gang prevention and intervention and domestic violence agencies).
- Laundromats/laundry service
- Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, podcasts and other media services
- Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities — for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible
Can this Order be changed?
Yes. It was important to get this Order in place quickly given the spread of the virus in Southern California. However, it can and will likely be updated as conditions warrant. Follow updates at http://www.vcemergency.com. We will also share new updates with the media.
What if I need to visit a health care provider?
If you are feeling sick, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center.
Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you have deemed that you have an actual emergency.
For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any health care provider, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical and scientific research facilities, laboratories, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, veterinary care providers, mental health providers, physical therapists and chiropractors, cannabis dispensaries with medicinal permits, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services, manufacturers and suppliers. Health care providers do not include exercise gyms and similar facilities.
Can I still get deliveries from online stores?
Yes. The mail and other delivery services to your home can continue to function, as can food delivery services.
Can I still order the things I need online and have them delivered to my residence?
Yes. The Order identifies businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences may continue to operate.
Can I use ride share, on demand service, or a taxi?
Only for essential travel. You should avoid being in a vehicle with many other people. In circumstances under which such transportation is needed, you must practice social distancing, cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze, use hand hand sanitizer or wash your hands before and after rides. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers, like Uber and Lyft, providing transportation services necessary for essential activities and other purposes are expressly authorized in the “Stay Well at Home” Order.
Can I take public transportation (bus, subway, train)?
Only for essential travel. Public transit will continue to operate on a limited basis. When using public transit, maintain at least six feet of distance from others.
Can I still seek non-essential medical care like eye exams, teeth cleaning, elective procedures?
To the extent possible, all health care visits that are not cancelled or rescheduled should be done remotely.
Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?
No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items whenever you need them, as stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally do. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.
What should I do if I’m sick or a family member is sick?
If you are feeling sick, please first call your primary care doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. Check online resources like the CDC website if you are worried that you or a loved one has the COVID-19 virus. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you have deemed that you have an actual emergency. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
What should I do if I’m sick or a family member is sick and needs to go to the hospital or a medical provider? How can I protect others?
If possible, walk or drive yourself to the hospital or medical provider. If someone else in your home is sick and can drop you off, that is another good option.
If you have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like a surgical mask or N-95 mask, you can wear that to prevent exposing others. If you don’t have that, you could use a temporary method such as wrapping a clean scarf around your mouth and nose to try to reduce droplets when you cough and sneeze. Although this is not an approved method, it is something you can do to avoid exposing others.
Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?
Yes. Be sure that you protect them and you by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue.
What if I am diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus or have been exposed to someone who was?
If you have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, you will need to be isolated to protect those around you. If you were exposed to someone who was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, you should quarantine for the recommended time in order to not expose others if you happen to have the virus yourself. Contact your healthcare provider if you have additional questions, or go to the County’s website at https://www.vcemergency.com or the Ventura County Public Health Department’s website at http://www.vchca.org/agency-divisions/public-health.
Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?
Generally no. There are limited exceptions, such as if you are going to the hospital with a minor who is under 18 or someone who is developmentally disabled and needs assistance. For most other situations, the Order prohibits non-necessary visitation to these kinds of facilities. If you need more information, please contact the facility directly by phone. This is difficult, but necessary in order to protect hospital staff and other patients.
Does the Order allow me to have my children in childcare? Will my daycare be shut down?
Childcare facilities may only operate if they comply with the conditions of this Order as they related to child care. Among these conditions, children must be cared for in groups of 12 or fewer, groups of children may not mix with each other, and providers may not circulate between groups.
Are non-profit organizations allowed to continue operating?
Yes, but only if they provide essential services as described in the order. This would include non-profit operating food pantries, providing housing and services for homeless residents, and many other critical services.
I am currently on vacation outside the County–Does the Order allow me to return home?
Yes. You should maintain social distancing on your way home, and then you will be subject to the limitations in this Order. If you prefer to stay indoors at your current location, you are encouraged to follow this Order while outside the County of Ventura in order to protect yourself and others.
What happens if I leave the County to go on a planned vacation?
The Order requires that you stay in your place of residence. Traveling runs the risk of spreading the virus to other areas and exposing new populations. Do not travel. As explained above, if you live outside of the County of Ventura, you are allowed to travel to and from work if your work is essential business, or if you need to travel to the County of Ventura, for another essential service like medical appointment.
I’m visiting and staying in a hotel, with family/friends, or in a short term rental. What should I do? Can I go home?
If you have a car and can return home via travel, you may do so if you are following social distancing protocols. If you have a flight or other travel, you should check first with the carrier to see if they are still operating and what protocols they recommend. You are strongly encouraged to shelter in place when you arrive at your destination to avoid infecting anyone else in your home community.
If you need to stay longer, coordinate with your accommodations as best you can.
What do I do about my kids? I have to work.
The Order allows you to take steps necessary to take your children to authorized childcare. Otherwise, you should address childcare needs as you are able given the constraints of the situation.
Can I leave home to exercise?
If you will be both outdoors and not in close contact with people, yes. Otherwise, no, because fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities will be closed.
How will I entertain my kids? Can we go to the playground or arrange playdates?
Do your best to entertain your children with games, reading, puzzles, and TV/videos at home. Engage them in educational online tools. However, you should not take them to the playground or arrange playdates. Children are not able to maintain social distance, and even adults are prohibited from socializing with friends in this manner. It is essential that we stop the spread of the virus by not having in-person social interactions.
Who counts as a family member?
A family member includes anyone you live with, anyone who is a legal relative of yours, or anyone you treat as a family member.
What do I do about my loved one who needs care from me?
You are permitted to provide care or to help with getting supplies for loved ones. But don’t provide care or pick up supplies if you are sick and someone else can do it. If you are sick, please try to self-isolate or take other steps not to expose anyone else to your illness.
Can I go to the store (grocery store, market, corner store, food bank, etc.) to buy food and other things?
Yes, you can go to the store to buy food, drinks and goods for yourself, for those in your home, and for anyone else that needs help. This also includes medical supplies at a pharmacy and supplies at a hardware store.
Can grocery stores, farmers markets, and other food retailers remain open?
Yes. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, water retailers, produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and similar food retail establishments are encouraged to remain open to provide food and pet supplies to the public. When visiting these establishments, please help retailers maintain at least six feet minimum distance between patrons, including by providing ample space while shopping and waiting in line.
If my child’s school is providing food or meals, can I leave home to go to the school to pick up the food or meals?
Can I go shopping for things other than food/groceries?
Yes. You can shop for anything that is related to health care, office supplies, and hardware supplies. You should minimize unnecessary trips
Can I go to the bank?
Yes, but avoid unnecessary trips.
Can I go out to do laundry or have my laundry done?
What are the social distancing guidelines I still need to follow?
The best way to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your cough or sneeze.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid groups (stay at least six feet away from others).
- Reduce the time you are around others outside the home, even when at least six feet away.
When practicing social distancing, how far should I stay away from others if I must be away from my home?
At least six (6) feet, which is appropriately two to three steps away, including if you are on the bus or train. This is why it’s important to only take public transportation for essential activities–you want to help everyone be able to practice social distancing.
What if I’m in a line and there isn’t six feet between me and others?
You should still try to maintain a least six feet between you and others. When that isn’t possible for short periods, do your best to keep the duration short. Be sure when you are in line that you don’t sneeze or cough onto people. If needed, cough or sneeze into your shirt or into an elbow with clothing on.
I work for an essential infrastructure organization–can I leave home to go to work?
Yes. “Essential Infrastructure” includes, but is not limited to, water, sewer, gas, electrical, roads and highways, construction, public transportation, internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provisions of essential infrastructure for competing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).
Can I go to a bar/nightclub/theater?
No. Entertainment venues like these are not permitted to be open during this Order.
Can I go to a restaurant, cafe, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location?
Yes, but only to pick up food or drinks. You cannot dine-in or eat or drink at the facility. Patrons will not be permitted to dine or congregate in restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.
Is my favorite restaurant, cafe, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location open?
Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food to the public are encouraged to stay open, but only to provide delivery and carry out. Patrons will not be permitted to dine or congregate in restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.
I don’t cook–how can I purchase meals?
Restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and similar establishments may remain open to supply meals to the public via delivery and carryout. You can also purchase prepared foods at grocery stores, supermarkets, certified farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and other such food retailers.
How can I access free or reduced price meals for myself or my family?
Schools, soup kitchens, food banks, and other entities that provide free or reduced priced food goods or meals to students or other members of the public are encouraged to continue providing these services. However, food provided by these establishments to the public may not be eaten on the premises but must instead be delivered or taken away for consumption.
Can I go to the gym or health club?
No. Gyms are ordered closed.
Can I walk my dog/pet?
Yes. Be sure that you distance yourself at least six feet from other pets and owners.
Can I go to a vet or pet hospital if my pet is sick?
Yes. Please call first to determine if there are any restrictions in place.
What if my plumbing gets stopped up or there is another problem with necessary equipment at my home? How will I access those sorts of services?
Call your plumber or building manager. This Order allows service providers like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, exterminators and building managers to keep working and providing their services to the public. To obtain supplies for a DIY solution, you can also visit hardware stores, which are allowed to stay open under this Order.
Can I keep working from home?
Yes, as long as your employer permits it.
What if I want to go to work and I’m not sick?
Unless your work includes an essential function, you cannot go to work. You may have the virus and not know it, or you might get it and risk infecting those you live with.