San Joaquin County law enforcement stresses calm with new limited stay at home order

Bob Highfill, The Stockton Record

Area law enforcement agencies have received numerous calls from residents asking how they intend to enforce the state’s “Limited Stay At Home Order,” which goes into effect for one month beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday.

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the order three days after 41 counties went into the purple tier for widespread risk of spreading the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Counties in the most restrictive purple tier, including San Joaquin, are subject to the order issued in response to an unprecedented rise in cases statewide. The order basically calls for all gatherings with members of other households and all non-essential activities conducted outside the residence cease between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily. Traveling to and from work, grocery shopping, taking a walk, those types of activities are permitted.

More:San Joaquin County businesses struggle with return to stringent COVID-19 restrictions

More:'Sounding the alarm:' San Joaquin County joins dozens of other counties in the purple tier

“Everything that’s in this order pretty much already is covered by the purple tier,” San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow said. “I would just tell folks not to worry about it. Just continue to do their best and stay safe and healthy.”

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, Stockton Police Department and Manteca Police Department issued statements saying they will continue employing a tiered approach as they have throughout the pandemic, now in its eighth month.

Withrow said people generally have been cooperative and his department has not yet issued any citations related to the pandemic.

“We have taken an educational approach here in San Joaquin County that if somebody does call and complains about something and if we have an officer available to respond to that, we have found that just by talking to our citizens and explaining the direction of the governor and our own public health officers we’ve been gaining compliance that way,” Withrow said. “Everybody’s working well together here in San Joaquin County.”

Withrow said the order will not affect the department’s regular functions.

“We’re very short-handed now as it is anyway with officers and we’re struggling to answer the regular calls for service,” he said. “We could issue a citation but we have not. If we were concerned over somebody putting on a big, paid, party-type event and that has happened a couple times, we have documented this and forwarded it to the District Attorney’s Office.”

The Manteca Police Department’s position of education and encouragement has not changed since the start of the pandemic.

“The Manteca Police Department will not arrest people for violating this order,” the department said in a statement. “Manteca police officers will NOT come to your home, stop your car, or interrogate your family based simply on this order.”

The Stockton Police Department issued a similar statement.

“Throughout the pandemic, the Stockton Police Department has taken an education first approach with regards to public health orders. We will continue to prioritize emergency calls for service while balancing a tiered approach of education, warnings, and enforcement when addressing violations related to this latest order.”

As of Nov. 20, California had 1,072,272 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 18,557 deaths. The number of COVID-related deaths increased by 0.5 percent from the prior day total of 18,466. In San Joaquin County, total cases number 24,649 with 22,434 total recovered (91% of cases), 1,712 total active cases (6.9% of cases) and 503 deaths (2% of cases).

New cases have jumped countywide to 15.2 per day per 100,000 residents – 16.4 per 100,000 adjusted – well above 7.0, the metric required to move ahead to the red tier. The testing positivity rate, 7.4% overall and 5.5% health equity quartile, meets red tier metrics, however, case numbers and testing positivity both must be in the red tier to move forward.

For updates, visit

Contact reporter Bob Highfill at (209) 546-8277 or Follow him on Twitter @bobhighfill.