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Coronavirus: Citrus Heights declares state of emergency

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Updated 10:36 a.m., March 20–
Sentinel staff report– The City of Citrus Heights on Thursday proclaimed a local “state of emergency” in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and also announced that the lobby and front counters at City Hall are now closed to the public.

The city clarified in a statement Thursday that its state of emergency declaration “does not signify an increased risk to Citrus Heights residents,” but instead focuses on tapping into outside aid.

“This proclamation allows our City potential access to additional aid and available resources — and ultimately assists us in ensuring the safety and well being of our community,” Mayor Jeff Slowey said in Thursday’s statement.

While other cities across the state have included additional directives and expanded powers in similar emergency declarations, Nichole Baxter, communications officer for the City of Citrus Heights, told The Sentinel there are currently “no added impacts to residents or businesses because of the City’s proclamation.”

She said the city is encouraging residents to follow directives from county health officials, which, beginning March 19 at 11:59 p.m., directs all individuals to “stay at their place of residence except for essential activities,” along with maintaining social distancing “of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence.”

The latest county order prohibits all public and private gatherings, but clarifies that “nothing in this order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.” The order also says “all in-dining at restaurants should cease, with the exception of home delivery and takeout.”

County officials said the order is necessary to limit the spread of coronavirus and will be in effect until April 7, unless amended by the county’s Health Officer. The full order can be viewed online at

Gov. Gavin Newsom later issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order for all Californians on Thursday, with the exceptions of essential activities like grocery shopping and employment within 16 “critical infrastructure sectors” that include the communications sector, certain manufacturing jobs, emergency services, energy, food/agriculture, government, transportation, financial services and other jobs. A full list is published at

A drive down Greenback Lane and Auburn Boulevard on Wednesday found most businesses were still open in the city, with notable exceptions being 24 Hour Fitness and Sylvan Oaks Library. Restaurants largely remained open, but with modified operations.

Related: Local events, church services cancelled in Citrus Heights to slow spread of virus

Leatherby’s announced this week it is offering drive-thru pickup only, shuttering its doors to the public for indoor dining at all locations, including Citrus Heights. Beer Dogs at Sylvan Corners also has remained open, actively promoting its delivery and to-go order options through its social media pages.

Although doors are closed to the public at City Hall, the city said all departments remain operational, with staff available by phone, email, and at

The city’s actions follow the governor’s proclamation of a statewide emergency earlier this month, and a public health emergency declaration by Sacramento County on March 5. Other cities, including Fresno and San Luis Obispo, have also issued state of emergency proclamations — some of which have included authorization for police to enforce anti-price gouging laws and additional restrictions on businesses.

As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 10,442 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 150 deaths. In Sacramento County there have been 45 confirmed cases and three deaths associated with COVID-19.

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