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List of exemptions for essential activities, travel and business from County “shelter in place”

Thank you Susan Gorin. To read the full legal Order, please visit You can also download the Health Officer’s FAQs by clicking here.

Essential Activities include:

  1. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family, household members, and pets, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food and supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
  2. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements, such as walking, hiking, biking, or running.
  3. To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business.
  4. To care for a family member or pet in another household.

Essential Businesses include:

  1. Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure;
  2. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food and supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences. Farmer’s markets shall comply with CDPH Guidance regarding Retail Food, Beverage, and Other Related Service Venues issued March 16, 2020;
  3. Agriculture, food, and beverage cultivation, processing, and distribution, including but not limited to, farming, ranching, fishing, dairies, creameries, wineries and breweries in order to preserve inventory and production;
  4. Businesses that are necessary to support agriculture, food, and beverage cultivation, processing, and distribution;
  5. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  6. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  7. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
  8. Banks and related financial institutions;
  9. Hardware stores;
  10. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses;
  11. Businesses that support or provide Essential Infrastructure;
  12. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  13. 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;
  14. Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  15. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for drive-thru, delivery, or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site. Food trucks shall comply with CDPH Guidance regarding Retail Food, Beverage, and Other Related Service Venues issued March 16, 2020;
  16. Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
  17. Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate;
  18. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences;
  19. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
  20. Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  21. Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  22. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
  23. Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions: Child care must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day). Children shall not change from one group to another. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other. Child care providers shall remain solely with one group of children.

Essential Travel includes:

  1. Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations.
  2. Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
  3. Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
  4. Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction.
  5. Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
  6. Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such.

I’d also like to highlight one notable exception to the shelter in place rules: Sonoma County Regional Parks will remain open to the public throughout the duration of this shelter in place order. All parking fees have been waived until further notice. Jack London State Historic Park will also be open to the public regardless of one’s ability to pay the entrance fee. Please make use of our county’s open spaces as they become safe havens for exercise and mental health in the next three weeks, but please also continue to practice social distancing as you do so. You can find your nearest county park here:



Last night, Tuesday March 17, the County of Sonoma held our most recent Coronavirus Town Hall in order to provide additional details on the shelter in place order. You can watch the English and Spanish videos by clicking on the photos below. (Please note these both direct to Facebook pages and the English version Town Hall begins at 11 minutes in.)