Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel has issued a revised Shelter-in-Place order that expands essential business activities, incorporates State allowances for non-essential medical and dental procedures, eliminates restrictions on limited recreational activities and allows group children’s activities under certain conditions.

Available at, the revised order maintains requirements for physical distancing and to shelter in place except for essential travel. Under the Order, limited business activities may resume under certain conditions, including landscaping and construction-related activities; nursery/gardening wholesalers and retailers; childcare, recreational and educational institutions serving children operating under strict safety guidelines; and golf courses that can protect the health of patrons.

“We have made great progress flattening the curve and protecting vulnerable residents and critical health care infrastructure, but we still have a long road ahead,” Newel said. “These are the first steps on a long journey, which will be guided by science and the leadership of State public health officials.”

Under the revised order, all Essential Businesses will be required to follow minimum basic safety precautions, including physical distancing and face covering requirements, and post health and safety information. Industry-specific information is available on the page under “Public Information.”

Non-emergent medical services are now allowed by both State directives and local orders. Santa Cruz County residents are encouraged to contact their healthcare providers to schedule deferred care, including preventive care. Local hospitals and healthcare systems are preparing to safely offer services such as elective surgeries, mammography, well-child visits, dental visits and other services which may have been delayed.

Certain group activities involving children can begin again, such as those overseen by childcare establishments, summer camps and educational or recreational entities. Such activities must be carried out in stable, “closed” groups of 12 of fewer, as described in the Order. Any future revisions to children’s recreational or educational group activities are limited by the State Shelter Order.

The Order also permits certain real estate activities to resume if they comply with physical distancing requirements and other Health Officer orders, as well as residential moves. It also allows new and used vehicle sales to occur.

Golf activities will be allowed to resume provided businesses and participants adhere to practices described in the Order. Beach restrictions intended to discourage beach crowding are also included in the Order.

The Order does not alter restrictions on hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, RV parks, campgrounds, and any other short-term lodging businesses, which are prohibited from providing accommodations to any individual unless that individual is present in the County for the purpose of performing services for an Essential Business, performing services at Health Care Operations, providing an Essential Governmental Function, or providing care for a sick individual. All lodging businesses are required to confirm the basis for any accommodation.

This Order is effective at 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020 and will continue to be in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer.

The County and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County have established SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County to facilitate the process of reopening the community and the local economy, which requires increased COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and quarantine/isolation services in order to protect the health and safety of residents.

For local information on COVID-19, go to, call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211. Residents may also call (831) 454-4242 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week.

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