Tuolumne County Sheriff

Tuolumne County Sheriff Bill Pooley on Wednesday postponed an outdoor event planned for this Saturday by volunteers with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Community Service Unit to recognize local first responders.

The event was planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. Pooley decided to postpone the event Wednesday afternoon to an undetermined date after speaking with the county Public Health Department about recommendations on gatherings.

County Public Health Director Michelle Jachetta said in an interview with The Union Democrat earlier in the day that her department had shared with event planners that there are state restrictions for large events of 1,000 people or more indoors and 10,000 or more outdoors.

“Aside from that, there is a local Public Health recommendation to postpone events, especially those with 50 more in attendance,” she said. 

Jachetta said when an event can’t be postponed, then recommended safety measures include holding it outdoors, recommending attendees be fully vaccinated or have a negative test within the past 48 hours, masking for all attendees regardless of vaccination (including outdoors when six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained), and asking anyone who may be feeling unwell to stay.

Organizers were planning for 10 to 12 agencies involved with emergency response and up to 500 people in attendance.

Participating agencies listed on an event flier included the Sonora Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, Tuolumne County Fire Department, Cal Fire, Tuolumne County Search and Rescue, Sonora Fire Department, and PHI (Petroleum Helicopters International) Air Medical Sonora.

All law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, public utilities, hospital agencies, and others were invited, the flier said. Each participating agency was to have a space or booth to provide information and demonstrations to the public, according to a flier for the event.

Event spokesman Dewey Barron, 92, a retired firefighter for the City of Orange and resident of Sonora for the past 21 years, said prior to the postponement that he believes it’s important for people to show appreciation for first responders and wishes more would.

“They need our appreciation, they need a pat on the back,” he said. “We have a lot of volunteers in the fire and the different search and rescue teams. They don't get a lot of anything. They want to help other people, and they volunteer.”

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or (209) 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.