Mar 25, 2020
While we all know the value of parks to our mental and emotional well-being, especially during this difficult time of sheltering in place, we are convinced thisorder of closer of our parks is the right move. We want to help make a real difference in the outcome of this crisis.
The closure order is in effect until further notice. To explain what the closures mean, we’ve prepared answers to some frequently asked questions. And here are links to the closure order and announcement.
This pandemic is an evolving crisis, and our response has had to adapt as situations have developed. I sincerely apologize for the interruption in service and ask for your cooperation with the latest order.
What is the parks closure order?
Sonoma County's public health officer has issued an order closing all parks within Sonoma County beginning March 24, 2020 and remaining in effect until further notice. The closure applies to all parks and open spaces in the county. It comes after parks, trails and beaches countywide were crowded with visitors during the first weekend of shelter-in-place orders issued by the county and state.
Can I walk to the parks?
At this time, the parks are closed to all visitors — whether you drive or walk or bike to the parks. We need to practice social distancing for the shelter-in-place order to work. Staying close to home is the best way to protect ourselves and our community.
If you live near a park, please follow the closure order and do not walk in. We're also asking people not to drive to park neighborhoods and walk in. These next few weeks are critical if we are going to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.
Why can’t I walk into the parks?
Due to park design, many parks can still get crowded if walk-in access is allowed. Walk-in access also presents an issue of equity for people who don’t live near parks. We know this is a disappointing development, but we ask for your cooperation. We had hoped the parks could remain a resource for basic activities, but the greater health of our community makes closing them the right action at this time.
What if I walk into the park anyway? Will I get a ticket?
We hope you’ll comply with the closure order. If rangers find you in a park, they’ll let you know the park is closed and ask you to leave. The intent is first to inform and ask for your cooperation.
Why are the bike trails open only for pedestrians?
Under the parks closure order, Class 1 bike trails like the Joe Rodota and West County trails (paved bike paths separated from roads) are open to pedestrians only. These trails serve as essential pathways in some neighborhoods, functioning like sidewalks. They remain open to let residents move about within their neighborhoods. They’re closed to cyclists to help prevent crowding and through-traffic and to reinforce the intent of the stay-at-home order.
How can I stay active if I can’t use my parks?
The health order does allow for limited outdoor exercise if we stay 6 feet from people who are not members of our household. Health authorities encourage us to do things like walk or ride bike around our neighborhoods. Play games or exercise in our yards. Garden or do outside chores or walk the dog. We know it’s disappointing to not be able to use the parks but staying close to home right now is the best way to slow the spread of this virus.
Can I exercise on school yards and playing fields?
School yards are considered public parks when school is not in session, so this closure order applies to those spaces as well.
Why did you make the parks free, only to close them days later?
Like everyone, we are doing our best to adapt while this emergency evolves. When the stay-at-home order was issued, we hoped the parks could remain a community resource. However, we also suspended non-essential services at that time. We waived parking fees so staff wouldn’t have to process sales and to help keep the parks accessible.
Like park managers throughout the country, we didn’t anticipate the record number of visitors we’d receive. We believe parks crowding would continue to be an issue at this time even if we reinstituted parking fees.
Unfortunately, too many people using the parks violates the intent of the stay-at-home order and makes social distancing challenging, if not impossible. It also strains our ability to keep facilities safe and clean.
I paid for an annual membership. Will you extend the expiration date of my membership?
We understand your concern about your membership. We will address this in the future. Right now, we’re focusing our limited resources on getting information out about the parks closure and ensuring the safety of staff who are enforcing the closure.
We will get through this.
Initial Notice, March 23, 2020:
Sonoma County’s interim public health officer today ordered the closure of all parks in Sonoma County to further enforce the county’s shelter-in-place directive during the COVID-19 emergency. The closure goes into effect March 24 and remains in effect until further notice.
The closure applies to all agencies and jurisdictions operating parks and open spaces in Sonoma County, including city, county, state and federal parklands and recreational lands operated by private groups and nonprofits.
The order comes after parks, trails and beaches countywide were crowded with visitors during the initial days of the shelter-in-place orders issued by the county and state. Parking areas and surrounding roads were filled with cars, and visitors gathered on trails, in parking areas, at picnic sites and in other common areas, despite orders to practice social distancing outdoors.
“Closing parks is a difficult decision, but it is the right decision at this time,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s interim health officer. “Allowing crowded conditions in parks is not in our best interest during this health crisis. The best action we can take is to stay close to home and limit our outdoor time to our yards and neighborhoods."
Sonoma County’s order to shelter-in-place was issued March 17, and Dr. Mase’s action today is an additional order to close all parks within the county. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order March 18. All directives urge the public to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus by staying home except for essential activities. However, both orders allow for limited outdoor exercise.
“We know that spending time outside is essential to our health, but too many people using the parks makes social distancing difficult,” said Susan Gorin, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “We all need to follow the health order and stick close to home for our outdoor activities. If we change our actions now, we slow the spread of this disease sooner than later.”
Instead of traveling to parks, health authorities suggest residents pursue outdoor activities like neighborhood walks and bike rides, playing or exercising in front or back yards and gardening.
The county’s Regional Park entrances will be closed beginning March 24, and the public is urged to comply with the closures. If visitors continue to park on surrounding streets and walk into parks, rangers will work with local law enforcement to restrict off-site parking.
said Bert Whitaker, director of Sonoma County Regional Parks. “We thank everyone who tried to use the parks safely, but we need to do more to protect our community. Let’s get through this emergency knowing we’ve done all we can to keep each other well.”
Sonoma County’s shelter-in-place order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. Answers to frequently asked questions about the order and the county’s emergency response can be found at SoCoEmergency.org.
Social distancing is the practice of reducing close contact between people to slow the spread of infections or diseases. Authorities recommend keeping a 6-foot distance from people who are not members of your household. For a list of what is safe to do to social distance, what to do with caution, and what to avoid, visit:
For additional questions, call 2-1-1 to reach the 2-1-1Sonoma Information & Resource Hotline.
Contact: (707) 565-3040
The City of Santa Rosa is closing all of its parks effective midnight tonight following a new Order from the Sonoma County Public Health Officer to close all parks within Sonoma County. The Order aims to stem the flow of park visitors to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Park maintenance team members will be posting signage at each Park location alerting visitors to the closures.
“I understand this will be hard on kids, families and individuals in our neighborhoods, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for each of us to abide by the Health Officer’s Order to protect our community from the coronavirus,” said Mayor Tom Schwedhelm.
The directive comes after large crowds of people flocked to local parks following Shelter in Place Orders issued by the County and State last week. While these Orders do allow for outdoor activity, many park visitors were seen not observing the required six feet of social distancing, causing unsafe conditions and violating the intent of the Shelter in Place Orders.
Residents looking for fresh air and exercise are encouraged to take walks, runs, or bike rides, within their own neighborhoods.
Many people are asking how they can help during this difficult and stressful time and we appreciate it! Today’s message from Santa Rosa Mayor Tom Schwedhelm addresses a couple of key issues currently facing the City:
Please watch this important message from the Mayor: WATCH VIDEO
Up-to-date information on the City of Santa Rosa’s response to the coronavirus public health emergency, including the Shelter in Place Order, available resources, how to prevent the virus, and what to do if you are sick, is available at SRCity.org/PreventTheSpread or by dialing 2-1-1.
La Ciudad de Santa Rosa estará cerrando todos sus parques, a partir de la medianoche de hoy. La decisión sigue una Orden actualizada por parte del Oficial de Salud Pública del Condado de Sonoma para cerrar todos los parques dentro del Condado de Sonoma. La Orden tiene como objetivo detener el flujo de visitantes a parques para evitar una mayor propagación del coronavirus (COVID-19). Los trabajadores del equipo de mantenimiento de parques publicarán letreros en cada ubicación de estos, informando a los residentes sobre los cierres.
"Entiendo que esto será difícil para los niños y las familias en nuestros vecindarios, pero no puedo enfatizar suficientemente lo importante que es para cada uno de nosotros cumplir con la Orden del Oficial de Salud y así proteger a nuestra comunidad del coronavirus", dijo el alcalde Tom Schwedhelm .
La directiva llega después de que grandes multitudes de familias e individuos acudieron masivamente a los parques locales después de que las órdenes de Refugio en el Lugar emitidas por el condado y el estado fueron dadas la semana pasada. Mientras estas Órdenes permiten la actividad al aire libre, se vio a muchos visitantes en los parques sin observar los seis pies de distancia social requeridos, causando condiciones inseguras y violando la intención de las Órdenes de Refugio en el Lugar.
Se sugiere a residentes que busquen actividades al aire libre y maneras de hacer ejercicios como salir a caminar, trotar o manejar bicicleta pero que lo hagan en sus propios vecindarios.
Muchas personas han preguntado cómo pueden ayudar durante este momento tan difícil y estresante, ¡y lo apreciamos mucho! El mensaje de hoy del Alcalde de Santa Rosa, Tom Schwedhelm, clarifica un par de cuestiones clave que enfrenta actualmente la Ciudad:
Mire este importante mensaje de parte del Alcalde: VER VIDEO
La información actualizada sobre la respuesta de la Ciudad de Santa Rosa a la emergencia de salud pública del coronavirus, incluida la Orden de Refugio en el Lugar, los recursos disponibles, cómo prevenir el virus y qué hacer si está enfermo, está disponible en SRCity. org/PreventTheSpread o marcando 2-1-1.
Please support our sponsors:
LOCAL GUIDE to Cannabis Dispensaries and Delivery Services, Sonoma County & Beyond.All dispensaries have verified their information.
Sonoma County Bike Shops and Groups. Find LOCALLY-OWNED Bicycle Shops for NEW, Used and Rental Bicycles as well as REPAIR. Look for a bike-riding group that suits your needs and style.
Find Goldsmiths and Jewelers who create custom designs, offer jewelry repair, estate appraisals, and gems.