Chris Godley, director of Emergency Management and leader of the Sonoma County’s Emergency Operation Center, apologized for taking the Saturday trip
A California emergency management official enjoyed a day with family at a beach despite strict a local shelter-in-place order that has closed all parks, beaches and open spaces.
Chris Godley, director of Emergency Management and leader of the Sonoma County’s Emergency Operation Center, apologized for taking the Saturday trip with his family to an unnamed beach on the Sonoma County coast.
Photos were posted on the family’s Facebook.
‘I own this,’ Godley said to the Press Democrat. ‘It was a day off for my family. Any reasoning or justification is going to sound thin.’
The family appear to be enjoying themselves on the unnamed and abandoned beach.
‘Road tripping up the coast. Beautiful drive and nice views. Family beach time together. Grateful for fresh air and the ocean,’ the post reads, according to the publication.
California has more than 7,300 cases of the coronavirus and more than 140 deaths.
The family appear to be enjoying themselves on the unnamed and abandoned beach (stock image)
Lynda Hopkins, the Sonoma County Supervisor, was dismayed by Godley’s trip to the beach.
‘I’m extremely disappointed,’ she asserted. ‘In county government, we need to lead by example. We can’t possibly expect the community to hold themselves accountable if we don’t hold ourselves accountable as well.’
Lynda Hopkins, the Sonoma County Supervisor, was dismayed by Godley’s trip to the beach
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Susan Gorin said it was time to move on from the issue, calling the incident a learning experience.
Sonoma County’s shelter-in-place-order went into effect at 12.01am on March 18. Only essential businesses are allowed to be open and travel is prohibited to all but essential employees or residents making essential trips.
The order was strengthened on March 23 when parks and open spaces were closed after people took to the Sonoma Coast. Public Health Officer Dr Sundari Mase found trips to the beach especially problematic, at the time.
Godley’s trip comes as local law officials have agreed to step up enforcement in the area. Citations will be issued to nonessential businesses that remain open and people who loiter.
Supervisor David Rabbitt defended Godley Sunday, advocating that few work as hard as him. He asked for people to be more lax with people in Godley’s line of work during this time.
California has more than 7,300 cases of the coronavirus and more than 140 deaths
‘If this was the doctor, in the midst of a battle for six days, and had one day off with family, would it be a sin?’ Rabbitt said. ‘Would that be a story? Or is it only a story for Chris Godley who works for the county?’
‘I want my top people who are responding to this crisis to be of sound mind, body and health,’ he continued.
‘And if that means going to the coast to feel better, I’m all for it.’
Godley’s boss, County Administrator Sheryl Bratton, also took up for the man’s work ethic.
Godley expressed remorse and hoped people could be merciful for his actions
‘He does an excellent job,’ she said. ‘He is the consummate professional and public servant. He and others are putting in excessively long hours at the EOC, and it’s important that he and others get time off.’
She did add, however, that time off did not include going to the beach.
‘That’s the conversation we had,’ Bratton said. ‘I take him at his word.’
Godley expressed remorse and hoped people could be merciful for his actions.
‘It’s certainly not what I want to model for my community at this time,’ he said.
‘I seek the understanding and mercy of my community. The opportunity to grant just a moment of freedom to my family — given that they rarely see me — is not a justification, but it’s what was going through my mind at the time.’
There are more than 164,000 cases of the coronavirus in the United States