Contra Costa County Issued Problematic New SIP Regulations

A few days ago Contra Costa County issued problematic new SIP regulations.  These favor protesters, discriminate against religion, and are disturbingly vague in significant places.

Contra Costa County has officially entered the competition for least sensible pandemic reopening restrictions. Rather than explain them I’ll just show you this from KRON TV in San Francisco:

You read that correctly. Protests are granted an exception of a little more than eight times the size of other groups.

Now this may have changed. A later post from the KRON website says this:[1]

The new health order will go into effect on June 3.

Health officials said residents will be allowed to go back to work, shop at local retail stores,

get childcare and hang out with small groups of people.

Indoor retail shopping, business offices, outdoor museums and pet grooming are among

the businesses that will reopen.

The order also permits services that don’t require close customer contact, such as

housekeeping, car washes, plumbing and pet grooming.

Other activities allowed:

  • Libraries may open for curbside pickup
  • Protests of up to 100 people will also be permitted
  • Small outdoor social gatherings
  • Childcare and camps, but only up to 12 children in stable cohorts

Religious services will be able to resume on June 15 with some limitations.

I’ll just add a few comments. First, protestors can have up to 100 people but churches must remain closed? Given the choice between joining a protest and attending a church service I’m pretty sure I’d feel safer at church.

And this set of regulations invited discrimination. Who decides how large a “small outdoor social gathering” can be? At least the draft in the photo included a number.[2]

Some of you may be curious about Contra Costa County. Here’s the scoop.

Contra Costa County is east of the East Bay hills. Its boundaries are roughly San Francisco and Suisin Bays to the north, Point Richmond and the East Bay hills to the west, an arbitrary southern boundary starting between Dublin and San Ramon extending east northeast to the Clifton Court Forebay and extending east to the Old River. Interestingly it includes a piece of Bethel Island in the northeast corner.[3] For those of you visually inclined, here’s a map.[4]

(click for larger image)

Contra Costa County encompasses wealthy suburbs such as Moraga and Orinda; working class communities such as Martinez, Richmond, and Pittsburg; and agricultural regions including Brentwood, famous for spectacular corn during the summer. A key geographic feature is Mount Diablo, one of the highest hills in the Bay Area. The hot, dry winds from the east in the fall are called Diablo winds in this area. (In Los Angeles they are Santa Ana Winds.)

One thing I’m sure of: there will be a whole lot more of this silliness will be happening in the coming months.

  1. KRON4 staff (June 2, 2020) “Contra Costa County to ease coronavirus shelter in placerestrictions.” Available at . Accessed June 5, 2020.
  2. Actually, my guess is that KRON saw the number 12 and thought it applied to all non-protesting groups.
  3. California has a long history of colorful geographic names.
  4. Google maps. Accessed June 5, 2020.


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