The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

By Shawn Raymundo

The county of Orange took drastic measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, March 17, issuing a ban on all professional, social and community gatherings of any number of people at places of work.

In a second press release issued on the same day, Molly Nichelson, a county Emergency Operations Center officer, clarified that the public health order was not an order to shelter in place, like what had been issued in San Francisco.

“It is important for all Orange County businesses to remain open while practicing social distancing consistent with the Governor’s guidance,” Nichelson said in the release. “However, following State guidelines, all bars and other establishments that serve alcohol and do not serve food shall close.”

All restaurants and other establishments that serve food shall close onsite dining. Pickup, delivery and drive-thru services may remain open.

With the exception of essential activities that include health and safety operations, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, and media outlets, to name a few, the county has prohibited all public and private gatherings, according to the order from OC Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick.

“All businesses shall enact Social Distancing, increased sanitation standards, and shall make every effort to use telecommuting for its workforce,” the order states. “All businesses shall suspend any policy or procedure requiring doctor verification for sick or other leave approval.”

Effective this afternoon, all bars and drinking establishments that don’t serve food have been ordered to close, while restaurants have been told to close all onsite dining. The ban will stay in place until April 1.

“All food served shall be by delivery, or through pick-up or drive-thru,” the order explained. “Social Distancing shall be required for persons picking up food on site.”

The health officer’s order also strongly recommended that anyone over the age of 65 or have serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, or have a compromised immune system to self-isolate at home.

This is a developing story. The story was updated to include clarifying information from the county’s emergency operations center.

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Staff

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>