CATHEDRAL CITY — With a 4-1 vote, the City Council this week extended an emergency order, first authorized on May 13, requiring face coverings and social distancing in public.

Councilmember Ernesto Gutierrez cast the dissenting vote.

CC Emergency Order Requires Face Coverings

Councilmember Ernesto Gutierrez

“We have to protect the elderly and those at risk with underlying medical conditions,” Gutierrez told Uken Report. “But for the young and healthy, it should be a recommendation, not a requirement.”

Some people call him “heartless,” Gutierrez said.

“I am not heartless. I care about people. That’s why I ran for office,” Gutierrez said. “It’s a bad virus, but we’ve come a long way with medications and treatment. There is no cure but we continue to learn. I know the virus is here, but we need to learn to live with it and use common sense.”

Additionally, Gutierrez told Uken Report he does not believe the California Department of Public Health is forthcoming with all the facts about COVID-19. Each day it releases information regarding the number of tests that have been done, the number of people who have died, and the number of confirmed cases, But never, Gutierrez said, does it reveal the actual number of people infected at any given time.

The hospitals, he said, are not overrun. The federal medical station the California National Guard set up in March at the fairgrounds in Indio has been dismantled. So, just how bad is the virus?

“I am not happy with the information we are getting,” Gutierrez said.

Had the majority of the City Council not agreed to extend it, the emergency order was set to expire on Friday, June 19. The extended emergency order is set to expire Sept. 30.

The protracted emergency order came on the same day the California Department of Public Health reported that the state has 157,015 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, There have been 5,208 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Emergency Order requires the following:

  • Face coverings required in public settings. All persons, including essential workers, must wear face covering, such as scarves (dense fabric, without holes), bandanas, neck gaiter, or other fabric face coverings.
  • All persons, including essential workers, are discouraged from using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, for non-medical reasons.

Face coverings must be worn in public settings, but are NOT required to be worn by people who are:

  • At home
  • In the car alone or with members of their own household
  • Children under the age of 2 years, due to the risk of suffocation.
  • Outdoors, walking, hiking, bicycling or running. However, people must comply with social distancing during these activities, including maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from other people. People should also have face covering readily accessible.
  • Residents with a health condition whose medical provider has advised against
    wearing a face covering can provide documentation.

Under the emergency order businesses must:

  • Require their employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face covering at the workplace and when performing off-site work;
  • Inform customers about the need to wear a face covering, including posting
    signs and advising those in line or in the business;
  • Take reasonable steps to keep people who are not wearing a face covering
    from entering the business; and
  • Refuse service to anyone not wearing a face covering.

Social distancing is required under the emergency order. All persons are required to engage in social distancing by maintaining a 6-foot separation from all persons except for members of their same household and medical providers with the appropriate personal protective equipment.

Image Sources

  • Ernesto Gutierrez: City of Cathedral City
  • face coverings: Shutterstock