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Posted on: March 20, 2020

Residents Asked to Stay Home Except For Essential Needs to Slow COVID-19

Health Notice

Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20 asking Californians to stay home, Merced County’s Health Officer issued an Order directing County residents to remain in their places of residence except to perform or receive essential services.

The order from Merced County Health Officer Dr. Kenneth Bird is effective as of today, March 20, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice. The action is intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19, otherwise known as novel coronavirus.

Examples of essential services that will remain open include gas stations, pharmacies, agricultural operations, grocery stores, take-out/delivery restaurants, banks, and laundromats. Examples of services directed to temporarily close include bars, entertainment venues, gyms, and public events or gatherings.

When residents need to leave their homes to purchase food, supplies and other essential items, they are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing at all times.

Local government services deemed essential will continue to function in Merced County and its six cities. This includes public safety, garbage pickup service, water service and basic public utilities.

Health Officer orders are legally enforceable, however, residents are permitted to leave their homes to perform essential functions and certain other activities while implementing safe social distancing.

Dr. Bird described the orders to stay at home as a necessary step to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“This Order is based on scientific evidence and past practices regarding the most effective approaches to slowing down the transmission of COVID-19,” Dr. Bird said. “We know that this virus will infect a lot more people, and we need to get ahead of it as much as possible.”

Public Health Director Dr. Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp, DrPH, reaffirmed Merced County’s commitment to seeing our residents through this situation.

“As employees of Merced County, we’re public servants and we exist to serve the community,” Nanyonjo-Kemp said. “Our citizens need us now more than ever. We will continue to provide the best services possible while preserving the health and safety of the public and our employees. We’re here for you.”

To view Merced County’s Order, you can visit Attached to this news release is the Health Officer Order and FAQs that provide additional detail.

For additional details from the State regarding Executive Order N-33-20, please visit

Printable Version (Includes Full-Text of Order)
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