May 28, 2020 Moonshine Minutes
Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone , typically Tahoe’s big start of summer tourism season, and we found ourselves reopening our visitor-based economy — kind of. Nonessential visitation and short term rentals are still banned, yet there was a palpable energy around town … and a steady stream of cars.
I’m Mayumi Elegado, publisher and founder of Moonshine Ink. Welcome to Moonshine Minutes, your hub for local updates, investigations, and information on the Tahoe story under pandemic lockdown.
We asked Placer County public health officer/director Dr. Aimee Sisson for clarification about what is allowed and what’s not during this new stage. Now, let’s hear from the doctor in her own words, edited for length, voiced by our news editor, Becca Loux.
Mayumi (questions), Becca (answers)
Can I hang out with my friends now? Can my children meet up with friends?
We are currently in stage two of the state’s Resilience Roadmap. The state’s website says: “The California Department of Public Health has determined that all public gatherings with people who are not members of your household — in any indoor or outdoor space — should be postponed or canceled to curb community spread of COVID-19.”
We all know about keeping 6 feet apart, and the recommendation of wearing a mask. What other practices do you recommend?
Washing your hands frequently, and for at least 20 seconds, remains a tried and true method of disease prevention! Wash your hands before putting on your face covering or touching your face in any way, before and after eating, and after touching surfaces used by others like doorknobs. Higher risk individuals (over 65 or with serious medical conditions) should continue to stay home and minimize errands by getting groceries delivered or asking for help from friends or family. Anyone who feels ill — even very minimally ill, like a sore throat — should stay home, and we’d encourage them to get tested for COVID-19. Our OptumServe testing sites, including the site in Kings Beach, now offer appointments regardless of symptoms.
What about going out to eat? How does that work?
Restaurants are adhering to state guidelines that require tables to be at least 6 feet apart, along with other safety precautions such as requiring face coverings for servers. For now, only go out to dine with other members of your household. Face coverings are recommended before and after eating, such as when entering and ordering.
How about a road trip? Can I go? And how far?
On the California Department of Public Health website there is a list of activities that are not permitted in stage two. Included on that list is “Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism — nonessential travel.”
Outdoor recreation is allowed, but according to the state website, “Californians should not travel significant distances and should stay close to home.”
When will the stay-at-home order be lifted?
The governor has already begun modifying the stay-at-home order. Placer County is under the state order and so restrictions cannot be looser than those established by the governor and his staff. … The governor has not provided a clear timeline for movement from stage two to stage three, though he alluded to the possibility of some stage three businesses reopening in early June. Stage four is the final stage of the state’s roadmap and represents the complete lifting of the order. This would be when mass gatherings could resume, and is likely not to occur until there is a vaccine.
Can you comment on what science says about the wearing of masks? There’s been a lot of chatter about whether masks are effective and people referencing different studies.
The phrase we say in public health is “my face covering protects you; your face covering protects me.” The main role of face coverings is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well (if they are presymptomatic or asymptomatic but infectious). Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these strategies and when worn properly.
… It is true that a cloth face covering will not contain every single virus particle, as critics point out. But the science shows that face coverings can reduce the number of droplets expressed, which reduces overall opportunity for transmission.
Check out the story and all our in-depth coverage of the coronavirus in the region at moonshineink.com/coronavirus. Remember, as the good doctor told us, what happens next is determined by us, so stay safe and stay home …. mostly.