California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a “Stay-at-Home” order and the closure of non-essential businesses that the majority of locals are working to adhere to in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect fellow residents from infection.
Idyllwild residents took to social media to express their frustrations regarding visitors coming up to utilize short-term rentals.
Another frustration had to do with the continued operation of non-essential businesses.
Locals are worried that visitors could spread COVID-19 to the community. A sign was posted on Highway 243 near Marian View Drive last week that read, “Visitors Go Home!”
Riverside County Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington posted the following on social media last week: “The governor’s stay home order makes hotels, inns, vacation rentals and other short-term lodgings nonessential unless they are used for COVID-19 mitigation and containment. If you own one of these businesses, it must be closed for now with very few exceptions. If you are thinking about traveling to stay in a short-term rental or hotel, DON’T!”
Riverside County Public Health and County Counsel have been working to put measures in place to crack down on businesses that violate the order set forth by Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser that are in-line with the state.
“There certainly are repercussions,” wrote Chief of Staff to Riverside County Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington Michelle DeArmond. “County Counsel had been actively engaged with Dr. Kaiser in cracking down on businesses who violate the order.
“The County Environment Health Department is actively enforcing the Order against all restaurants and bars in the county. The County Counsel’s Office has taken and will continue to take aggressive enforcement action against significant public health threats by seeking emergency restraining orders and seeking contempt citations if violations continue.”
“We spoke to county counsel this morning [March 30] about the enforcement process and were told that county counsel continues to seek temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions against businesses that are operating in violation of the order,” wrote DeArmond when asked the timeline from submitting a complaint to action being taken. “They are working to prioritize complaints based on those that pose the greatest health and safety threat to the public, so the timeline varies depending on the type of business in question. For example, private schools and churches that have continued to operate have been targeted first as they attract large gatherings of people far exceeding the social distancing limitations.”
The amended order released March 30 reads: “Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation per day, injunction relief and attorneys’ fees and costs.” This was added to the original “Violation of or failure to comply with this order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.”
The order “will remain in effect until April 30, 2020, pending further Order of the Public Health Officer.”
Complaints should be made to [email protected] or 951-351-6866.
“The fastest way for people to get attention to their complaint is to go through that website and/or phone number,” said DeArmond. “They need to be prepared to provide detailed information on the location.”