Hundreds ignore social distancing, gather in East Bakersfield, County Supervisor Mike Maggard said

Posted at 6:38 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 21:38:50-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Hundreds ignored social distancing guidelines when they gathered at a make-shift flea market in East Bakersfield Monday, Kern County District 3 Supervisor Mike Maggard announced Tuesday.

"I went there last night at 6:30 to see it for myself. A food truck is there opening up shop," Maggard said. "They shouldn't be there."

The supervisors approved Public Health's local health emergency at their board meeting Tuesday, which may be step towards ending those kinds of gatherings, according to a California Emergency Medical Services Authority.

At the meeting, a County employee told Maggard that "under the tenure of a local emergency, the health officer has expanded powers ... he has the ability to issue orders that would require people to not congregate."

According to a CEMSA document, "during any type of ESA emergency, the local health officer may take any “preventive measure” that may be necessary to protect and preserve the public health from any public health hazard within his or her jurisdiction."

23ABC news reached out to Public Health to see if these orders would allow Matt Constantine, the county's health officer, to order non-essential businesses that are still operating in the county to close down. Public Health did not provide a statement as of Tuesday 6:30 p.m.