Canyon Lake issues emergency order in response to coronavirus outbreak

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City of Canyon Lake City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Chris Mann issued sweeping orders on Tuesday, March 31 in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus within the community.

The city said at least one confirmed case has been discovered within the city.

“All persons living within Canyon Lake are to remain in their homes,” the order reads. “All businesses within the city of Canyon Lake are to cease operations that require in-person attendance by workers at a workplace. All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside of those individuals’ residences are prohibited. All travel is prohibited.”

The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. March 31 and continues through 11:59 p.m. May 6.

“Failure to comply with these orders shall constitute a misdemeanor subject to fines and imprisonment pursuant to Canyon Lake Municipal Code Section 2.28.100,” the order reads. “City Code Enforcement and Special Enforcement Officers, as well as the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, have been authorized by the City Manager to actively enforce these orders.”

“That being said, the city does not plan on taking a punitive approach,” the city wrote in a Facebook comment. “This is not martial law, and we will not be arresting anyone for violating these orders. Rather, we want to help people understand the orders and how to comply. … However, should someone become defiant by refusing to comply or by repeating an offense, they may be issued a notice to appear in court to answer to misdemeanor charges.”

The orders are subject to a list of exceptions that includes freedom of movement for essential workers in a variety of fields. The full document and list of exceptions can be viewed at https://www.cityofcanyonlake.org/index.asp?SEC=F224C39D-C23E-4C1E-A390-AE089D504F43&DE=16629F5B-AEDA-499C-A058-7C8FF72C3412&Type=B_PR.

In the comments section under the post on the city’s Facebook page, the city attempted to calm nerves in reaction to the order.

“These orders are largely the same as the orders we were already under from the state, county, city, and HOA,” the comment reads. “The major difference is that people now need to avoid gathering with anyone who does not live in the home with them. We need to prevent cross-contamination.

“People can still go to the grocery store, to pick up food at a restaurant, to a medical appointment, on a walk, on a bike ride, on their boats, etc.,” it reads. “However, they can only do these things by themselves or with people who live with them. They cannot, for example, go fishing with their neighbor, or have extended family gather at their home. Also, for the most part, if someone owns a business or works in an industry that was considered ‘essential’ before, that will not change with these orders.”

According to the order, there were growing reports coming into the city about people not abiding by the orders set forth by Governor Gavin Newsom, Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the city and the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association.

“Examples of unacceptable behavior have included house parties, groups congregating in parks and utilizing playground equipment, golfing, boating in groups, teenagers wandering in groups, non-essential businesses continuing to operate, etc.,” Mann wrote in a statement pertaining to the order on the city’s website.

The city said that the Riverside County Department of Public Health estimates that the spread of the virus is doubling every 4 1/2 days and that there could be 50,000 confirmed cases and 1,000 deaths within the county by April 30.

“We urge Canyon Lake residents to take this pandemic seriously and to abide by these orders.” Mann’s statement reads.

Residents who have questions or would like to report a violation of the order should contact city hall at (951) 244-2955.