Placer approves urgency ordinances in response to COVID-19

The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a series of urgency ordinances in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

In the first of two urgency ordinances, the board voted to delay the annual adjustment of impact fees until October instead of July. 

The county collects development impact fees to fund infrastructure necessitated by growth.

Every year staff brings impact fees to the Board of Supervisors to make adjustments pursuant to changes in a specified consumer price index or a consumer cost index to make sure that the fees keep up with inflation.

County staff determined that the timing of the fee adjustments was problematic given the COVID-19 emergency and its financial impacts on the community.

The Building Industry Association and other industry experts recently cited concerns over an increase in fees due to an expected decrease in construction activity because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The board may choose to further delay fee adjustments at the July board meeting.

For the second urgency ordinance, the board voted to suspend penalties and interest on an interim basis until July 31 for unpaid transient occupancy taxes that were due for the first quarter of this calendar year.

Reporting is still required but the suspension of penalties and interest will allow additional time to process and send payments to Placer County. The urgency ordinance will also help alleviate additional administrative burdens so that operators can focus their efforts elsewhere.

Many lodging operators and organizations were required by the governor’s executive order to stop operating their businesses to help flatten the COVID-19 curve and this took a heavy toll on revenue, which has caused many operators and organizations to miss the TOT remittance deadlines.

“The lodging community and TOT certificate holders in Placer County have done a remarkable job in cooperating with the governor’s executive order, which has contributed to public safety and supports the area’s finite health care system,” said Placer County Revenue Services Manager Doug Jastrow. “Of particular note are the efforts of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association to inform would-be visitors to eastern Placer County of the executive order’s limits to commercial lodging and non-essential travel.” Taxes paid by visitors help fund services benefitting the entire county including public infrastructure projects and tourism marketing and promotion, but are also used for public safety, transportation, libraries, parks and historical and environmental preservation projects. TOT must be collected not just by traditional lodging providers like hotels but also by those who provide lodging through internet-based services like Airbnb, HomeAway and Vacation Rentals By Owner.

While Shelter-In-Place Remains, Placer Looks To Phased Reopening

As of Saturday, May 2, Placer County’s local health order will expire and residents will be guided by the governor’s Executive Order to shelter in place — removing any confusion over areas of difference between the two orders. This transition will allow a focus on planning for a phased reopening in partnership with local governments, health care, business and other stakeholders, as well as regional and state partners.

In response to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Placer County and the greater Sacramento area, last month the Placer County health officer issued a directive – and later, an order – intended to slow the spread of the disease by asking residents to stay at home except for essential needs. The local order was intended to complement the indefinite statewide shelter-in-place order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19.

The goal of sheltering in place is to flatten the curve—to avoid a large number of cases all at once that would overwhelm the health care system and result in deaths that could have been prevented if cases were spread out over time. The current numbers demonstrate that sheltering in place has helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in Placer County.

“It is of critical importance that our residents understand the necessity to shelter in place and our local order was a tool to underscore this. I am grateful that our community has shown this understanding, and I recognize the deep sacrifices made to adhere to orders,” Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said. “With this awareness built, we will move forward under the statewide order and turn our local attention to planning for a phased reopening.”

While the local order is ending, area residents still need to shelter in place. Governor Newsom’s statewide shelter-in-place order remains in effect until further notice. The governor’s Executive Order permits critical workers in 13 sectors to work, and allows people to leave their homes for necessities such as food, medications and health care.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the state order can be found at Placer County will continue to receive questions about the state order from local businesses and residents, and will work to synthesize and address these with the state. Businesses that remain open as permitted under the governor’s order are still asked to adhere to physical distancing protocols provided on the county’s guidance page at The health officer’s recommendation to wear face coverings when maintaining 6 feet of physical distance in public is not possible also remains in effect.

Placer County Public Health is focused on working with partners to build local capabilities necessary for an eventual and safe reopening. The state’s six indicators have been identified by Governor Newsom as:

  • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
  • The ability of the hospital and health system to handle surges;
  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
  • The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

“While aspects of these indicators are beyond our control at the local level, we are excited to see testing capacity increasing day by day, and we appreciate the engagement of our business community,” Sisson said. “There is still work to be done and we are not out of the woods. It is not yet safe to reopen, but progress is being made.”

Placer County has created sector-specific task forces to ensure the reopening of our county is managed effectively within public health guidance protocols. The task forces will coordinate with the state, county departments, local cities and chambers of commerce as well as our non-profit partners to share information and develop health and safety guidelines to assist all sectors of our community.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to reopening every sector of county government. Court officials will face different challenges than our Parks Department and the same holds true for our business community and school districts,” said Placer County CEO Todd Leopold. “We intend to work through operational issues that are relevant to each sector so that we are can effectively maintain public health standards for when the governor lifts the stay-at-home order.”

The governor has announced four stages around how California may modify the statewide stay-at-home order in the future, as part of a “Resilience Roadmap.” State leaders made clear that California is still in stage 1, and movement to the second stage will be a statewide shift and not a local decision.

Placer Health Officer Issues New Order Through May 1st To Slow COVID-19


Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson has issued a new order that clarifies, strengthens, and extends the terms of the previous directive to reduce person-to-person contact and increase physical distancing in order to further slow transmission of COVID-19. The new order will be in effect through May 1.

“While the prior directive has been effective, further action is necessary,” Sisson said. “The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise. New evidence that people can spread the virus up to three days before developing symptoms is concerning. Right now, our best tool to slow the spread of the virus is to continue to stay home.”

The new stay-at-home order will supersede the previous directive and go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on April 10. It complements the indefinite statewide stay-at-home order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19.  Where a conflict exists between this order and any state public health order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most restrictive provision applies.

Like the previous directive, the new order requires people to stay at home except for doing essential activities. Non-essential businesses will remain closed. The new order adds some clarifying language around essential business and activities including:

  • Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities must scale down operations to their essential component only.
  • Clarity on essential components of businesses such as automotive dealerships, realtors and other service providers are detailed in the order.
  • Essential businesses may only assign an employee to work outside the home if the employee cannot perform their job duties from home.
  • Essential businesses are expanded to include service providers that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies, etc.); funeral homes and cemeteries; moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities.
  • Essential businesses must develop a physical distancing protocol by the end of day April 13, for which a template is provided.
  • Use of recreational areas with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering is prohibited. This includes playgrounds, dog parks, picnic areas, and similar recreational areas. These areas must be closed to public use.
  • Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls is prohibited. These facilities must be closed for recreational use.
  • Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment must be limited to people in the same household.
  • Funerals are limited to no more than 10 people attending.
  • Moving residences is permitted, but only if it is not possible to defer an already planned move, the move is necessary for health and safety reasons, or the move is necessary to remain housed or retain employment.
  • The definition of essential travel is clarified to include travel for parental custody arrangements, travel to avoid domestic violence or child abuse/neglect, travel to manage after-death arrangements and burial as well as other situations.

Click here for the full order, and here for the physical distancing protocol template for businesses.

Placer County Public Health and Environmental Health have been working with local businesses and community members to provide education and encourage compliance with the previous directive and the state order. If residents have concerns about businesses or activities that are not adequately incorporating physical distancing in adherence with the new order, please email with “Community Concern” in the subject line, and provide the name and contact information of an activity organizer/owner. Public Health will evaluate and prioritize response based on risk level.

“I urge residents and businesses to comply with both the letter and the spirit of this order. People need to stay home as much as possible and businesses should critically assess whether they are truly essential,” Sisson said.

Placer County Public Health continues to publish current information about the pandemic on the COVID-19 website, In collaboration with the Placer County Office of Education, a new webpage collecting resources around food, housing, unemployment and other key community resources during the COVID-19 pandemic is available at

Face Coverings Now Recommended For Public On Top of Social Distancing

Cloth face coverings – such as a bandana, scarf or homemade cloth cover – are now recommended when leaving the house for essential activities, announced Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson, to further slow the spread of COVID-19.

The new recommendation comes after increasing evidence that transmission of the virus can occur as early as three days before people develop symptoms. But health officials stress that face coverings should be used in tandem with, not in place of, other strategies.

“While we recognize the potential for face coverings to help reduce the spread of germs, we want to stress that people should be staying home first and foremost. And when you must go out for essential needs like groceries or medication, you still need to stay at least six feet away from others,” said Sisson. “We do not want people to get a false sense of security from wearing a face covering and gather in close proximity, which is not allowed. Physical distancing remains our primary tool in battling this pandemic.”

Face coverings can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 by catching respiratory droplets that can be expelled not just in coughs or sneezes but also through activities like talking or singing.

“Because people may be infected but not know it yet, the basic concept is that my face covering protects you and your face covering protects me,” Sisson said. “I also want to be clear that we are recommending the public wear face coverings like scarves or bandanas – NOT surgical masks or N95 respirators, which are in short supply and we need to reserve for our health care workers and first responders.”

Face coverings should always cover the nose and mouth. But those who wear them should also take steps to ensure that the covering is secure and will not require frequent adjustment, as touching one’s face with unwashed hands would contribute to the spread of germs. Wash hands before and after putting on, taking off or adjusting a face covering.

Cloth face coverings should be washed frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Have a bag or bin to keep cloth face coverings in until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. Discard cloth face coverings that no longer cover the nose and mouth; have stretch out or damaged ties or straps; cannot stay on the face; or have holes or tears in the fabric.

“Stay in place, maintain your space and cover your face,” Sisson said.

Media Assets

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Placer County Public Health Reports Second COVID-19 Death

Placer County Public Health is reporting that a second resident has died of COVID-19. The person, an elderly adult with several underlying health conditions, was a resident of south Placer County.

Public Health officials believe the person contracted COVID-19 through community spread. The patient was admitted to a local hospital with COVID-19 symptoms and tested March 17. Lab results confirmed COVID-19 on March 22 and the patient succumbed to illness yesterday.

As of today, there are 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Placer County. The first COVID-19 death in Placer County was reported March 4.

“This tragic loss is a sad reminder that COVID-19 is widespread in our communities and of the continuing importance of social distancing measures,” said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “It remains everyone’s responsibility to stay at home unless absolutely necessary to help prevent as many more infections and deaths as we possibly can.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order and Placer County’s health officer directive remain in effect, requiring all Placer County residents to stay at home except for essential activities, which include:

  • Activities to maintain the health and safety of family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medication;

  • Obtaining necessary services or supplies (or delivering those services or supplies to others), such as getting groceries;

  • Engaging in outdoor activity, provided 6 feet of spacing is maintained between people who are not members of the same household;

  • Performing work providing essential products and services at an essential business as defined in the order;

  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household.

Public Health also reminds residents and visitors that both the executive order and directive prohibit non-essential travel, including for vacation or outdoor recreation.

For general questions about COVID-19 and Placer’s health officer directive, residents are encouraged to visit the county’s COVID-19 website,, or call the county’s coronavirus information line at 530-886-5310.

Placer County provides clarity for short-term rental operations

Placer County Health Officer provides clarity for short-term rental operations 

As the State of California and Placer County work to slow the spread of COVID-19, the county’s health officer is providing clarification about the operation of short-term rentals in North Lake Tahoe and elsewhere in the county. Based on the Governor’s Executive Order, Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson urges short-term rentals to cease all commercial operations.

“Short-term rentals that are used for commercial purposes are not considered part of critical infrastructure under the governor’s order,” said Dr. Sisson. “Short-term rentals may only continue to operate for extremely limited purposes as outlined.”

Short-term rental units may only operate:

  • To provide COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures (for example, isolation and quarantine or the housing of displaced persons or the homeless);
  • To provide housing for essential critical infrastructure workers; and
  • For use by the property owner and his/her immediate family members.

Placer County is urging short-term rental owners to comply with the executive order to help our community stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The county is reaching out to registered short-term rental operators to ensure awareness of current COVID-19 guidance. Short-term rentals that aren’t in compliance with the guidance may be reported to Placer County’s short-term rental hotline at 530-448-8003. Reports may also be shared online at

Amid growing community concerns regarding a significant increase of visitors to state parks, California State Parks previously announced the temporary closure of all campgrounds in the state park system along with other steps to reduce crowds. As defined in the Health Officer Directive issued March 19, 2020, essential travel does not include vacation travel. Residents should shelter at their place of residence and not travel to other communities to shelter there.

The state Order and county Directive both allow for travel to meet essential needs. Residents do not need to remain confined in their homes and can engage in outdoor activity, provided six feet of spacing is maintained between people who are not members of the same household.

“We’ve made it clear that folks are not bound to their homes and can go outside for a walk or basic exercise as long as six feet of social distancing can be maintained,” said Sisson. “We ask residents to use common sense and stay close to home to get their exercise, as the state has said as well. Traveling between different communities contributes to the spread of disease and the burden on small hospital systems.”

Local tourism officials are also discouraging visitors from flocking to the most popular destination sites in North Lake Tahoe.

According to the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, while social distancing practices are evident in the community, an influx of visitors to the region will severely impact the “small but mighty” health care system, front-line service workers and the overall inventory of necessary supplies. For the safety of full-time residents and second homeowners, the North Lake Tahoe destination is asking people to refrain from visiting until it is deemed safe and viable.

Placer County Issues Directive to Stay Home

Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson has issued a directive for residents to remain at home except to engage in “essential activities,” effective 12:01 a.m., March 20, 2020, in response to local and regional spread of COVID-19.

“It is critical that every member of our community heed this directive if we hope to slow the spread of this disease and prevent severe loss of life,” said Sisson. “This is an extraordinary measure but we are in an extraordinary time, and we must act quickly to meet this moment.”

Thus far, there have been 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Placer County including one death as of 2 p.m. on March 19. In addition, at least 11 cases in Sacramento County are directly linked to cases in Placer County. With evidence of community spread occurring in the region, it is expected that case numbers will increase further, especially as testing capacity grows.

Under the directive, Placer County residents are directed to only leave their residence to perform essential activities, some of which include:

  • Activities to maintain the health and safety of family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medication.
  • Obtaining necessary services or supplies (or delivering those services or supplies to others), such as getting groceries.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, provided six feet of spacing is maintained between people who are not members of the same household.
  • Performing work providing essential products and services at an essential business as defined in the directive, or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in the directive.
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household.

For a complete list of activities and businesses considered “essential,” please see the full directive.

The directive follows evolving local, state and federal guidance over the past weeks. Other counties in the region have issued similar directives or orders. The Placer County Health Officer will continue to evaluate the situation and could take additional action in the future if warranted.

“As we continually learn more about COVID-19, how easily it is transmitted and how dangerous it can be for some portions of our populations at higher risk, it’s become clear how crucial it is for us to limit interpersonal interactions now,” Sisson said. “If you are at lower risk, please consider helping your at-risk friends and loved ones keep stocked on essentials so they can stay home as much as possible.”

Individuals with mild illness should manage their symptoms at home with over-the-counter drugs whenever possible, regardless of whether they have a cold, the flu, or COVID-19. Contact your health care provider if you have more concerning symptoms and wish to inquire about testing. For more general inquiries around COVID-19 and Placer County’s new directive, view current information at A public hotline is also available at 530-886-5310.

“I understand how disruptive this directive is,” said Sisson. “I have not taken this decision lightly. COVID-19 poses a significant threat to the Placer community and I implore every resident of our county to take the threat seriously and follow this directive. Our lives depend on it.”

Read the full directive here.


Placer County Offices Will Limit Counter Services

To help stop the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, Placer County will provide limited public counter service effective March 17 until at least March 29. Essential services such as law enforcement, fire and emergency services, garbage, recycling, water and wastewater will continue.

Though some county buildings will close to the public, many services will still be available online or by phone.

A full list of closures and which county services will still be available is being developed and will be published on Placer’s website, as well as a directory to access county services residents may need.

“We are proud to serve thousands of our residents every day at offices throughout the county. But with COVID-19, that accessibility presents a real risk to our community and our employees that we just can’t take,” said Placer County Executive Officer Todd Leopold. “We will do everything possible to limit any service disruptions this may cause and we appreciate our residents’ understanding and support as we work through this difficult time together.”

County staff are evaluating how to conduct public meetings safely while allowing for community input and information about any meeting scheduling or format changes will be published as it becomes available.

Placer County declared a local health emergency and a local emergency March 3 to ensure public health professionals have all necessary tools at their disposal to keep the community safe from COVID-19. Placer’s ongoing COVID-19 response will continue uninterrupted by the office closure.

“As the latest social distancing guidance from the federal and state governments affirm, the best thing all of us can do to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home,” said Placer Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “Limiting public counter access is in line with this approach and sets the right example for other organizations to help protect their employees and customers.”

4th Annual Placer Empowering People

There was joy and laughter as dozens of low-income and homeless residents attended the fourth annual Placer Empowering People event earlier this month.

Some came out for pet-related services, others for clothes, haircuts and medical services. From simple breakfast foods to more in-depth resources around rehabilitation, there was a wide array of resources from the county and local nonprofit organizations on display.

One woman, Liz, brought her two small dogs – Ricco and Elvis – along for the day.

“These two needed their shots and their nails done, and Elvis needed a microchip,” she explained. “It’s a great program for people who can’t afford this type of thing; a beautiful program.”

Another attendee, Robert, who has a history of homelessness, said he is on the path to a better life, and the event was a boost.

“This is my first time out here,” he said. “So far I have a toothbrush kit, and I have some raffle tickets…but my favorite part is (that) it’s just a little day trip out of my everyday normal situation.”

Programs ranging from Whole Person Care to Acres of Hope were present to build connections with homeless individuals – and build hope.