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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

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Para obtener información en español, visite nuestra página de el Novedoso COVID-19

Updated May 5, 2020

Stay at Home: What You Need to Know

To further combat the spread of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsome has issued a Stay at Home Emergency order, which means all residents in California must stay inside their residences, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.

What is COVID-19

COVID-19, according to the CDC, is a highly contagious new disease caused by a virus called coronavirus. Its symptoms include, fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Vista Residents

Residents of the City of Vista are required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities or jobs.” When residents are outside walking or exercising or running essential errands, they must stay six-feet away from others (outside of their household unit) and cover their face.

When Can I go Outside of My Home? 


  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, run - just keep at least six feet between you and others in the community. 
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies.
  • Go to work if you are an essential employee per CA guidelines. You must follow the Stay at Home when off duty for essential working.   


  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by CA State Essential Business List guidelines.
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than six feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Travel to or from a job outside the city, unless to perform essential activities
  • Travel to or from a vacation home outside the city

Is this order mandatory? What happens if I don’t comply?

Yes. The “Stay at Home” order is a legally enforceable order. Failure to heed the order is a misdemeanor that can result in fines or jail time, although Law Enforcement hopes the public will cooperate and self-regulate, instead of having to take enforcement action.

Do I have to wear a face mask?

As of May 1, the County is requiring people to wear face coverings in many public settings. The coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are part of our path to reopening San Diego. Face coverings can be made of cloth. Homemade coverings, bandanas, scarves and neck gaiters are also OK. Medical grade masks should be saved for healthcare workers. Read the full information on the County website.

When to wear

In general, you must wear face coverings anywhere you come within six feet of others. That includes:

  • Waiting in line to go inside a store.
  • Shopping in a store.
  • Picking up food at a restaurant.
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation.
  • Riding in a taxi or other ride service vehicle.
  • Seeking health care.
  • Going into facilities allowed to stay open.
  • Working an essential job that interacts with the public.

When face coverings are not required

Face coverings are not required:

  • At home.
  • In the car alone or with members of your household.
  • For children under 2 years old, because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling or running by yourself or with household members.  Have a face covering ready and wear it if you come within six feet of other people.
  • For residents with a health condition that prevents wearing a mask.

Businesses - Face Covering

Businesses must:

  • Require their employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face covering at the workplace and when performing work off-site.
  • Inform customers about the need to wear a face covering, including posting signs and advising those in line or in the store. Suggested flyers for posting English | Spanish
  • Refuse service to anyone not wearing a face covering. 

Why is this happening now?

This Emergency Order was issued because it is urgent that to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 in San Diego County and in the State of California.

The virus spreads easily, and this State order is intended to prevent the spread of this disease from overwhelming our healthcare system. The goal is to “flatten the curve” to slow down the spread of the virus and ensure San Diego County and the State of California has adequate health care resources for those who get sick with COVID-19 and those who need emergency medical care for accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other routine medical conditions. 

What is the difference between “Stay at Home” and “Social Distancing”?

Stay at home is a stricter form of social distancing. There are some differences. Stay at Home means:

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)
  • Only go out for essential services
  • Stay six feet or more away from others
  • Don’t gather in groups

The other concepts from social distancing will continue to apply when you are out shopping for essential needs, or walking, or going to the doctor. These include washing hands, using hand sanitizer, disinfecting surfaces, not going out if sick, and staying at least six feet away from others outside of your home unit at all times.

When does the Order go into effect and how long will it last?

  • The Order went into effect immediately after midnight, starting at 11:59 p.m., Thursday, March 19, 2020. For a 24-hour period following the effective date above, employees and business owners were exempt to allow access to their workplaces to gather belongings, so long as social distancing requirements were followed. Such workplaces shall remain closed to the public in accordance with this Order.

Can this Order be changed?

Yes. The Governor placed the Stay at Home order to slow the spread of the virus in California.  However, it can and will likely be updated as conditions warrant. Follow updates per the County of San Diego website. We will also share new updates with the media. 

What if I need to visit a health care provider?

If you are feeling sick, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center. 

Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you have deemed that you have an actual emergency. 

Can I still get deliveries from online stores?

Yes. The mail and other delivery services to your home can continue to function, as can food delivery services.  Just keep six-feet between you and the person delivering the item.

Can I still order the things I need online and have them delivered to my residence?

Yes. The Order identifies businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences may continue to operate.  But keep your social distance by staying six feet from the person delivering the item.

Can I use ride share, on demand service, or a taxi?

Only for essential travel. You should avoid being in a vehicle with many other people. In circumstances under which such transportation is needed,  you must practice social distancing, cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands before and after rides. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers, like Uber and Lyft, providing transportation services necessary for essential activities and other purposes are expressly authorized in the “Stay at Home” Order.

Can I take public transportation (bus, subway, train)?

Only for essential travel. Public transit will continue to operate on a limited basis. When using public transit, maintain at least six feet of distance from others. 

Can I still seek non-essential medical care and doctor’s appointments?

To the extent possible, all health care visits that are not cancelled or rescheduled should be done remotely.

Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?

No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items whenever you need them, as stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open and are frequently restocking. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally do. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.

What should I do if I’m sick or a family member is sick? 

If you are feeling sick, please first call your primary care doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. Check online resources like the CDC website if you are worried that you or a loved one has the COVID-19 virus. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you have deemed that you have an actual emergency. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency. 

What should I do if I’m sick or a family member is sick and needs to go to the hospital or a medical provider? How can I protect others?

If possible, walk or drive yourself to the hospital or medical provider. If someone else in your home is sick and can drop you off, that is another good option. 

If you have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like a surgical mask or N-95 mask, you can wear that to prevent exposing others. If you don’t have that, you could use a temporary method such as wrapping a clean scarf around your mouth and nose to try to reduce droplets when you cough and sneeze. Although this is not an approved method, it is something you can do to try and limit exposure to others. 

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Be sure that you protect them and you by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue.

What if I am diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus or have been exposed to someone who was?

If you have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, you will need to be isolated to protect those around you. If you were exposed to someone who was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, you should quarantine for the recommended time in order to not expose others if you happen to have the virus yourself. Contact your healthcare provider if you have additional questions,

Are non-profit organizations allowed to continue operating?

Yes, but only if they provide essential services as described in the Stay at Home order. This would include non-profit operating food pantries, providing housing and services for homeless residents, and many other critical services.

I am currently on vacation outside the City. Does the Order allow me to return home?

Yes. You should maintain social distancing on your way home, and then you will be subject to the limitations in this Order. If you prefer to stay indoors at your current location, you are encouraged to follow this Order while outside the County of San Diego in order to protect yourself and others.

Can I leave home to exercise?

If you will be both outdoors and not in close contact with people, yes. Otherwise, no, because fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities are closed.

Who counts as a family member?

A family member includes anyone you live with, anyone who is a legal relative of yours, or anyone you treat as a family member.

What do I do about my loved one who needs care from me?

You are permitted to provide care or to help with getting supplies for loved ones. But don’t provide care or pick up supplies if you are sick and, instead, find someone else to do it. If you are sick, please try to self-isolate or take other steps not to expose anyone else to your illness.

Can I go to the store (grocery store, market, corner store, food bank, etc.) to buy food and other things?

Yes, you can go to the store to buy food, drinks and goods for yourself, for those in your home, and for anyone else that needs help. This also includes medical supplies at a pharmacy and supplies at a hardware store.  When out of your house always maintain six feet of distance from other people.

If my child’s school is providing food or meals, can I leave home to go to the school to pick up the food or meals?


Can I go shopping for things other than food/groceries?

Yes. You can shop for anything that is related to health care, office supplies, hardware supplies, and at businesses listed as essential in the Order. You should minimize unnecessary trips.

Can I go to the bank?

Yes, but avoid unnecessary trips.

Can I go out to do laundry or have my laundry done?


Can I get my hair cut or styled at a beauty salon or barbershop?

No. These businesses are ordered closed under the “Stay at Home” emergency order.

Am I able to take my pet to be groomed?

Generally speaking, you cannot — as pet groomers are not considered essential businesses under the “Stay at Home” order.  There may be some exceptions for certain services, but only if provided as part of veterinary care.

What are the social distancing guidelines I still need to follow?

The best way to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid groups (stay at least six feet away from others).
  • Reduce the time you are around others outside the home, even when at least six feet away.

When practicing social distancing, how far should I stay away from others if I must be away from my home?

At least six (6) feet, which is appropriately two to three steps away, including if you are on the bus or train. This is why it’s important to only take public transportation for essential activities--you want to help everyone be able to practice social distancing.

What if I’m in a line and there isn’t six feet between me and others?

You should still try to maintain a least six feet between you and others. When that isn’t possible for short periods, do your best to keep the duration short. Be sure when you are in line that you don’t sneeze or cough onto people. If needed, cough or sneeze into your shirt or into an elbow with clothing on.

I work for an essential infrastructure organization, can I leave home to go to work?

Yes. “Essential Infrastructure” includes, but is not limited to, water, sewer, gas, electrical, roads and highways, construction, public transportation, internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provisions of essential infrastructure for competing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

Can I go to a bar/nightclub/theater?

No. Entertainment venues like these are not permitted to be open during this Order.

Can I go to a restaurant, cafe, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location?

Yes, but only to pick up food or drinks. You cannot dine-in or eat or drink at the facility. Patrons will not be permitted to dine or congregate in restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.

Can I go to the gym or health club?

No. Gyms are ordered closed.

Can I walk my dog/pet?

Yes. Be sure that you distance yourself at least six feet from other pets and owners.

Can I go to a vet or pet hospital if my pet is sick?

Yes. Please call first to determine if there are any restrictions in place.

What if my plumbing gets stopped up or there is another problem with necessary equipment at my home? How will I access those sorts of services?

Call your plumber or building manager. This Order allows service providers like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, exterminators and building managers to keep working and providing their services to the public. To obtain supplies for a DIY solution, you can also visit hardware stores, which are allowed to stay open under this Order.

Can I keep working from home?

Yes, as long as your employer permits it.

What if I want to go to work and I’m not sick?

Unless your work includes an essential function, you cannot go to work. You may have the virus and not know it, or you might get it and risk infecting those you live with.

Services and Resources


Is the City of Vista open?

All City facilities are closed to the public. Essential services such as Fire/Medical services, Law Enforcement, Public Works, and Senior Nutrition Meals are being provided. To contact the City, dial 760.726.1340 or check for information on our website. All City events, commission meetings, and recreational events have been cancelled until further notice.

Who should I call regarding general information or resources in San Diego County?

As a local non-profit operating 24 hours a day, 365 days each year, 211 San Diego is the region’s trusted source for access to community, health, social, and disaster services. By simply dialing 211 the call is free, confidential and available in more than 200 languages. 211 provides access to 6,000+ services, resources and programs through our online database.  You can also access 211 online.

Will my trash still get picked up?

All trash and recycling collection services are being continued at full capacity.

Is the Vista Library open?

San Diego County has closed its libraries to the public, including the Vista Library. Online services are still available.

Is the 2020 Census still happening?

The 2020 Census has moved back their operations until mid-April. Residents are still encouraged to email or mail their responses if they have already received their notice with instructions. The Census employees who will need to go door-to-door to obtain responses have been rescheduled for August.  Learn more online.

Is the Vista Farmer's Market Open?

The Vista Farmers Market, which operates under the County's purview, remains open until further notice every Saturday from 8 am until Noon at the Vista County Court complex.

Is the senior center open?

The McClellan Senior Center and dining sites are closed to the public. The senior nutrition program is by pick up only and the home delivered meals will continue. Learn more here.  All programs and activities at all facilities have been cancelled.

Are the city’s parks and recreation centers open?

The Jim Porter Recreation Center is closed to the public. All recreation and cultural programming at all facilities have been cancelled; this includes all recreational and cultural activities, indoor and outdoor sports leagues, aquatics classes, instructional courses, and group sessions. All events and permits of 10 people or more at City of Vista Recreation & Parks sites or locations have been cancelled or postponed.

The parks, including the skate parks are open at this time (March 27, 2020 11:20 am). The children’s playground equipment and swings and the tennis, bocce ball, pickleball, and basketball courts are closed. Group sports are prohibited. Parks will remain open during regular park hours, but be sure to keep at least six feet between yourself and others in the community.

Are the beaches open?

Beaches in San Diego County have been closed. Beach parking lots are closed.

Who can I call for questions about parking enforcement?

You can contact Code Enforcement by through our website online form or by calling 760.639.6141.

Enforcement is being maintained at this time on operations that prioritize health, safety, and emergency access — including colored curbs and street sweeping, handicapped parking, and posted construction parking notices. 


What assistance is available for workers impacted by COVID-19?

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations, you may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits from the state Employment Development Department (EDD). The State also oversees paid family leave if you are providing care for an ill or quarantined family member, disability benefits for particularly long illnesses, and workers’ compensation if you were exposed to COVID-19 while on the job and in the course of your regular duties. 

What are trusted sources for COVID-19 employment related updates?


What assistance is available for businesses impacted by COVID-19?

Please check the Business Resources page here.


What assistance is available re: housing? for renters impacted by COVID-19? 

Please check the Housing Resource page here.

Updated: 3/26; 3:09 pm.