Sonoma County restricting large gatherings amid omicron surge

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Sonoma County is the only county in the Bay Area asking people to voluntarily stay at home for the next 30 days and avoid small and large gatherings.

The county’s new health order says people should not gather outside with more than 100 people, and should not gather inside with no more than 50 people.

The restrictions went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday and will last until February 11, 2022, unless the county decides to rescind it or extend it, depending on how the COVID situation turns out.

At this time, here won’t be any fines or shutdowns if businesses don’t comply – but the order is meant to keep people safe from the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19.

“A “large gathering” does not include attendance at work, courthouses, places of worship, cafeterias, or any venue that is open to public circulation as part of its regular operations such as shopping malls, stores, restaurants/food facilities, and museums.  This Order does not apply to regular school instructional events such as daily classes or outdoor recess,” the order said.

In addition, the order said smaller gatherings should be, but are not required to be, postponed, canceled, or conducted virtually.

The California Department of Health is reporting an all-new record high in the percent positivity rate – which is the rate of which people are testing for COVID and getting a positive result. It’s at 22.4% now statewide. There is also a 7% increase in statewide COVID hospitalizations.

Within Sonoma County, officials said “over the course of 14 days, Sonoma County’s case rate increased by 398% from 24.4 to 121.4 new cases per 100,000 per day and is predicted to continue to rise in January 2022.”

They also said the county’s test positivity is higher than at any point during the pandemic.

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