Coronavirus: Valley residents urged to stay away from Tuolumne County, for now

TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you're thinking about taking a drive out of the Valley for some fresh mountain air and a change of scenery after weeks at home, officials in Tuolumne County say please don't.

Board of Supervisors Chair, Sherri Brennan, says "While we love our visitors to Tuolumne County, and we think we're blessed here in Tuolumne County with a lot of great places to visit, now is not the time."

The communities along Highway 108, including Sonora, Twain Harte, and Pinecrest, often attract people who want to enjoy the outdoors, including several families we filmed having fun in the snow back in January.

Local leaders say all of the parks, lakes, and golf courses in the area are now closed, but they've still seen visitors congregating in areas that are off-limits and stopping in other facilities along the way.

Brennan adds, "We were seeing a number of those individuals visiting our stores, getting gas, staying in our Airbnb's, and that's very problematic."

The county has confirmed two cases of COVID-19 with both patients contracting the virus elsewhere. Officials have now prohibited the use of most short-term lodging and issued a request for visitors to delay all non-essential travel.

Brennan says, "We have a very high senior population in Tuolumne County, and I would just remind folks that if it was your parents or grandparents that were living here in the county, you would want people to respect the orders that are in place for everyone's health and safety."

Officials we spoke with in neighboring Mariposa County say they have not had as many issues with people visiting, especially since the closure of Yosemite, but the health officer adds that everyone is encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel to keep their community and others safe

Mariposa County resident Kenneth Smith says, "If you don't live here, you need to stay home. There's an order out for everybody to stay home. We're safe here, and let's keep it that way."

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