Across the Area

County walks back Tuesday’s order

THE ORANGE COUNTY Health Care Agency has issued a new order on coronavirus, replacing the previous order which caused “wide-spread confusion” (Shutterstock).

The Orange County Health Care Agency is today (Wednesday) walking back an order issued Tuesday that seemed to imply that most businesses should close down.

In an amended order from Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nicole Quick, the OCHCA placed some of the responsibility on the State of California for what it admits was an “order as written [that] caused wide-spread confusion.” A press release seeking to explain the order said it “is not an order to shelter in place. It is not a lockdown.”

“In light of new written, changing state guidance, this order revises the prior order,” which is no longer in effect. “Except as provided herein, nothing in this document prohibits businesses or other entities from operating within Orange County,” the new order reads. “Businesses and entities should operate in accordance with social distancing guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health.”

A prohibition on public and private gatherings remains, but it doesn’t apply to “essential public transportation, airport travel, shopping at a store, mall or farmers’ market, or charitable food pantries and distributions, or to congregate living situations, including dormitories and homeless encampments.”

The new order does still require that all bars and other businesses that serve alcohol and do not serve food shall close. Restaurants and other eateries can serve food only by delivery, pick-up or drive-through.

The original order appeared to order closed a wide variety of businesses, exempting a list that included grocery stores, banks, gas stations, newspapers and “other media services.”


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