Since March 20 of this year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and both State and Local Health Officer Orders, gatherings of individuals outside of the household unit have not been permitted. In spite of this, numerous individuals identifying themselves as invited wedding guests have contacted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services to voice their concerns about two ceremonies in particular scheduled for the next two weekends, one in Petrolia and one in Ferndale.
These reports were received via the Joint Information Center’s Community Information Line, with additional reports made through the COVID Compliance Line. In response to both, and under the direction of the Emergency Operations Center, code enforcement officers reached out to family members to remind them that holding these gatherings is both illegal and dangerous.
As noted by Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich, “We all understand the desire to celebrate occasions such as weddings with family and friends. However, just as high school seniors had to sacrifice traditional graduation ceremonies, these types of large gatherings simply cannot occur. We are in a pandemic and the potential for not only a large number of guests to become infected but for these individuals to then expose many more people in our community, is enormous. There is simply no way for Public Health to conduct timely contact investigations and limit disease spread when hundreds of people are exposed at one time.”
Law enforcement is aware and will be reaching out to the individuals involved, and enforcement action will be taken if these events proceed. Frankovich added, “I am hopeful that civic-minded residents of Humboldt will reconsider offering and attending such events until it is possible to hold them without violating the law and endangering the safety of the guests and the residents of Humboldt County.”
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