Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser revised today his previous order restricting public gatherings of 250 people or more.
Kaiser’s new health order restricts mass gatherings of 10 people or more between March 16 and April 30, regardless of venue. Violation of or failure to comply with this order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.
Additionally, gatherings with fewer than 10 people must have enough available room to maintain six feet of space between attendees. This is known as social distancing. If a minimum social distance of six feet between attendees cannot be maintained in the venue or a subdivision thereafter, the gathering is prohibited.
There are limited exemptions to the 10-person rule, including healthcare facilities, grocery stores, daycare centers and restaurants serving take-out.
The orders have impacted religious services, weddings, and sporting events countywide.
On March 13, Kaiser ordered the closure of the county’s schools. The order goes into effect today. “To further prevent the spread throughout the county, effective Monday, March 16, I am ordering a school closure, not a dismissal, of all Riverside County public schools. This order also applies to preschools, charter schools, private schools, and all colleges and universities in Riverside County,” Kaiser said.
Riverside County officials have expanded testing and the county’s public health lab is now operational, meaning local officials will not have to send testing samples to the state lab in Northern California or neighboring San Bernardino County.
“Unfortunately, the number of cases are going to keep going up for awhile,” Kaiser said. “But we’re taking steps to keep us ahead of the curve and getting people taken care of as quickly as we can. If everyone does their part we’ll get through this together.”