Marin County Officials Say Stay Home, Away From Others

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Many Bay Area police agencies and city officials were asking Saturday for better compliance with "social distancing" guidelines for people getting out of their houses, with at least one agency urging Bay Area residents not to go "beyond their communities" to get outdoors during the statewide shelter-in-place order tied to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

On Saturday Marin County's coastal communities saw an unusually large influx of visitors from around the Bay Area. According to the Marin County Sheriff's Office, the visitors created traffic congestion, which interferes with first responders' ability to handle emergencies. In addition, state and county park parking lots and bathrooms are closed due to the shelter in place order, adding to further congestion and creating problems with sanitation.

"Congregating in these popular areas makes the shelter-in-place order less effective and continues to put all of our counties at risk of COVID-19 spread," said Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin's deputy public health officer, in a news release. "Marin is usually a place for recreation, but now is not the time."

Martinez police officers were among those who urged the public Saturday to keep the prescribed six-foot distance between people who are out and about, so as to minimize chances the coronavirus spreading. Martinez police also noted that soccer games were reportedly being played at the city's Hidden Lakes Park, during which the social distancing guidelines were not being observed.

Piedmont officials on Friday said they closed several local facilities, including city tennis courts and sports fields "where we are seeing frequent violations of the social distancing requirements."

"Please comply with the spirit of the order by staying home unless absolutely necessary," the Piedmont statement read.

Law enforcement has yet to start giving tickets to people they see getting too close in public places. The Contra Costa Sheriff's Office and the San Jose Police Department, among many others, said officers are looking to educate rather than arrest.

The East Bay Regional Park District and the San Ramon Police Department were among a number of agencies that took to social media Saturday to say reports of such ticketing are not true.

"Hoax post! Not happening! Thanks for checking!" San Ramon police Capt. Denton Carlson said Saturday in response to a resident's question about what was an erroneous NextDoor posting about citations being issued.

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