A San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy’s patch. Courtesy of the department

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore called Monday on residents to strictly heed state and local stay-at-home and social-distancing mandates issued last week as key strategies in reducing the dire public-health threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is imperative we all comply with these orders,” Gore said in a prepared statement released Monday afternoon. “They were not created to follow when convenient. Not following these orders puts everyone’s lives at risk.”

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide directive that Californians remain in their homes except for essential needs until further notice.

Also on Thursday, new local public health orders took effect, including the closure all gyms and fitness centers, a ban on gatherings of 10 or more and a restriction on childcare to groups of 10 children and a single supervisor.

Violations of the rules constitute misdemeanors potentially punishable by fines up to $1,000, six months in jail or both.

“While law enforcement has been given the tools to enforce these orders, we hope that citizens will cooperate and self-regulate,” the sheriff said.

Cities within the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department have the authority to close public areas as needed to protect public health, Gore noted.

“We thank the public for their cooperation,” he stated. “The more people cooperate, the shorter (period of time) these public health measures will be in place. … We understand this is difficult for many San Diegans, who pride themselves on an outdoor lifestyle. Nonetheless, it is critical we all cooperate to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

— City News Service

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