While statewide shelter-in-place order remains in effect, Placer County looks ahead to phased reopening

Published April 29, 2020

As of Saturday, May 2, Placer County’s local health order will expire and residents will be guided by the governor’s Executive Order to shelter in place — removing any confusion over areas of difference between the two orders. This transition will allow a focus on planning for a phased reopening in partnership with local governments, health care, business and other stakeholders, as well as regional and state partners. 

In response to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Placer County and the greater Sacramento area, last month the Placer County health officer issued a directive – and later, an order – intended to slow the spread of the disease by asking residents to stay at home except for essential needs. The local order was intended to complement the indefinite statewide shelter-in-place order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19.

The goal of sheltering in place is to flatten the curve—to avoid a large number of cases all at once that would overwhelm the health care system and result in deaths that could have been prevented if cases were spread out over time. The current numbers demonstrate that sheltering in place has helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in Placer County.

“It is of critical importance that our residents understand the necessity to shelter in place and our local order was a tool to underscore this. I am grateful that our community has shown this understanding, and I recognize the deep sacrifices made to adhere to orders,” Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said. “With this awareness built, we will move forward under the statewide order and turn our local attention to planning for a phased reopening.”


While the local order is ending, area residents still need to shelter in place. Governor Newsom’s statewide shelter-in-place order remains in effect until further notice. The governor’s Executive Order permits critical workers in 13 sectors to work, and allows people to leave their homes for necessities such as food, medications and health care.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the state order can be found at covid19.ca.gov. Placer County will continue to receive questions about the state order from local businesses and residents, and will work to synthesize and address these with the state. Businesses that remain open as permitted under the governor’s order are still asked to adhere to physical distancing protocols provided on the county’s guidance page at www.placer.ca.gov/coronavirus/guidance. The health officer’s recommendation to wear face coverings when maintaining 6 feet of physical distance in public is not possible also remains in effect.

Placer County Public Health is focused on working with partners to build local capabilities necessary for an eventual and safe reopening. The state’s six indicators have been identified by Governor Newsom as:

  • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
  • The ability of the hospital and health system to handle surges;
  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
  • The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

“While aspects of these indicators are beyond our control at the local level, we are excited to see testing capacity increasing day by day, and we appreciate the engagement of our business community,” Sisson said. “There is still work to be done and we are not out of the woods. It is not yet safe to reopen, but progress is being made.”

Placer County has created sector-specific task forces to ensure the reopening of our county is managed effectively within public health guidance protocols. The task forces will coordinate with the state, county departments, local cities and chambers of commerce as well as our non-profit partners to share information and develop health and safety guidelines to assist all sectors of our community.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to reopening every sector of county government. Court officials will face different challenges than our Parks Department and the same holds true for our business community and school districts,” said Placer County CEO Todd Leopold. “We intend to work through operational issues that are relevant to each sector so that we are can effectively maintain public health standards for when the governor lifts the stay-at-home order.”

The governor has announced four stages around how California may modify the statewide stay-at-home order in the future, as part of a “Resilience Roadmap.” State leaders made clear that California is still in stage 1, and movement to the second stage will be a statewide shift and not a local decision.