Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question related to the City of Irvine’s response to COVID-19, please read the frequently asked questions below for general guidance and for questions pertaining to businesses. Questions are derived from general phone calls, social media posts, and those posed during the City’s Virtual Town Hall Meetings. For further assistance, call the City of Irvine’s non-medical COVID-19 Helpline at 949-724-8250 daily between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. or email covid19help@cityofirvine.org. Additionally, you may call the Orange County Health Care Agency COVID-19 Hotline at 714-834-2000 or email them at ETeam@ochca.com

Blueprint for a Safer Economy
& Regional Stay-at-Home Order
Testing & Vaccines Case Rates & Data
Compliance City Services & Facilities Business Resources

Blueprint for a Safer Economy & Regional Stay at Home Order

What stage are we in under the Governor’s new plan? 
California has a new blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in the state, with criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities. The City of Irvine is currently in the Widespread or Purple Tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In addition, on December 6, ICU capacity for the Southern California Region, which includes Irvine and Orange County, fell below the threshold to trigger the state's new Regional Stay-at-Home order. The order will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks and, after that period, will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial 3 week period. 

What happens under the new Regional-Stay-At-Home Order? 
All Californians need to 1) stop gathering with those outside of your household, 2) keep activities outdoors, and 3) keep your mask on when outside of the home when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. In addition, all nonessential travel is temporarily restricted. Certain business sectors will close temporarily. Visit our Guidance for Business Operations webpage to view impacts to businesses. 

How do you move tiers under the Governor’s new plan? 
Counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving forward to a lower tier. County numbers are assessed multiple times per week, and the weekly and the criteria for the new tier must be met for two straight weeks before reopening can occur, unless moving to a more restrictive tier, which would be determined by the State.  Additionally, counties can only move one tier at a time, unless moving to a more restrictive tier. 

What is the current status with the Stay-at-Home Order? When can we go back to work regularly?
A Regional Stay-at-Home order was put into effect in Orange County and the City of Irvine on Sunday, December 6 at 11:59 p.m. The order will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks and, after that period, will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial 3 week period. Visit our Guidance for Businesses webpage for information on business sector status. 

When and where do I have to wear a face covering in Irvine?
On November 16, 2020 Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health strengthened the face covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside of the home, with limited exceptions. All Irvine residents and visitors must conform to these guidelines, except in few exceptions. View the face covering guidance, which includes exceptions.  

How long do I have to quarantine if I've been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19? 
On December 14, the California Department of Public Health issued updated guidance concerning the recommended quarantine period for individuals following a "close contact" exposure to someone with COVID-19. The agency advises that all asymptomatic contacts may discontinue quarantine after day 10 from the date of last exposure with or without testing. Additionally, during critical staffing shortages, healthcare workers, emergency response workers, and social service staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 can shorten their quarantine to 7 days if they test negative after day 5 or later. For more information on this guidance, visit the CDPH website.  

What are the guidelines for gatherings?
On December 7, Orange County and the City of Irvine met the threshold to trigger the Regional Stay-at-Home order. Under the order all gatherings with members of other households are prohibited.  

What will reopen under other tiers and when can I expect my business to reopen?
The California Department of Public Health has laid out a plan for certain business sectors to reopen with modifications under each blueprint tier. View the plan here

Testing & Vaccines

How can I get tested for COVID-19?
The City of Irvine launched the COVID-19 drive-up Testing Program for in partnership with Curogram and multiple laboratories for those who live and work in Irvine. View the Irvine COVID-19 Drive-Up Testing FAQ webpage for more information about how to register for a test and specific requirements. Additionally, COVID-19 testing is currently provided for many, but not all, residents through the County of Orange and the State at multiple locations. Please visit our COVID-19 Testing webpage for testing opportunities and to learn how you can qualify.  

The Orange County Healthcare Agency also has multiple resources for testing, include at-home testing kits that are available for all Orange County residents as of December 9, 2020. Visit their website at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing for more information. Please note, as of now there is a limited number of test kits available per day.

Does the County and City have a plan and timeline for COVID-19 vaccines?
Given the limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines, distribution will be limited at first and increase over time. Determinations will be based on reaching critical populations to reduce morbidity and mortality rates due to the transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, the State has implemented two working groups to ensure the vaccines are distributed and administered equitably: a Drafting Guidelines Workgroup is developing California-specific guidance for the prioritization and allocation of vaccine when supplies are limited, and the Community Advisory Vaccine Committee is providing input and feedback to the planning efforts and resolving barriers to equitable vaccine implementation and decision-making. The State has provided guidelines for distribution

The County of Orange, together with the Orange County Fire Authority, launched ‘Operation Independence’ to help administer COVID-19 vaccinations in the county. An Incident Management Team is working to secure locations and sites where vaccines can be administered to Orange County residents in a phased, tiered approach.

We will provide additional information here and on our social media channels as we get closer to broader vaccine distribution. You can learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine on the Health Care Agency's website at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-vaccine-resources and our website at cityofirvine.org/covid-19-resources/covid-19-vaccine-resources.

How and when can I get a COVID-19 vaccine? 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines. Given the limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines, distribution will be limited at first and increase over time. California is currently in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which covers:

         Health care workers
         Workers and residents at skilled nursing facilities
         Workers and residents at other congregate living facilities

These groups have been contacted by the Orange County Health Care Agency to schedule appointments to receive the vaccine at designated locations in Orange County. Physicians in private practice who are uncertain about how they can get a vaccination appointment are encouraged to contact the Orange County Medical Association.

Please visit the Orange County Health Care Agency's Vaccine website at: covidvaccinefacts.com or call the Vaccine Hotline at 714-628-7085 for more information. 

How do I register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

The County of Orange is working with CuraPatient and their Othena app to track, schedule, and manage COVID-19 vaccine administration for Orange County residents. This system will connect individuals with vaccine distributors, set up appointments, and walk you through the entire vaccination process. Please visit http://Othena.com, click on "first time user" at the top of the page, and complete the pre-screening questionnaire. By completing the eligibility questionnaire, you are attesting that you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available for you.
You are also attesting that the information you are entering is accurate and verifiable by the appropriate evidence if requested. When the app is available, please provide as much information as possible to help accurately schedule your vaccine. You will be notified when the app is available for download and use.  

How can I help during the vaccination process?

Volunteers are needed to assist Orange County government staff with COVID-19 vaccinations at Points of Distribution (POD) sites this year. The County of Orange is looking to establish two teams of volunteers: those willing to serve as medical trained volunteers, and those willing to serve as general support volunteers. For more information, and to register as a volunteer, please visit the volunteer portal at oneoc.org. *Please use Google Chrome to access this form. 

Case Rates & Data

What kind of information is being reported regarding COVID-19 cases in Irvine?
COVID-19 test results and data are reported to the Orange County Health Care Agency. The County releases data regarding COVID-19 cases, including the number of positive cases and deaths reported in each city in Orange County. Data regarding disease transmission, hospital capacity, and hospitalization rates are also being reported for the County. Additionally, the County began reporting available ICU capacity for the Southern California Region. ICU capacity numbers are reported as unadjusted, and adjusted.

     Unadjusted: The unadjusted ICU capacity percentage is the raw % of Adult ICU bed availability. 

     Adjusted: The adjusted ICU capacity number takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment and the lower the number). This is done to preserve the capacity of the ICU to also treat non-COVID-19 conditions. If a disproportionate number of ICU beds are being utilized to treat COVID-19 patients, then patients with non-COVID medical issues may not be receiving or be able to receive the level of care they need. CDPH calculates this indictor by only counting Adult ICU beds (NICU and PICU beds are excluded) and only those hospitals with an emergency department are included. ICU bed count stays the same in both scenarios, the adjustment is strictly a mathematical one on the % of adult ICU bed available. The adjusted number is used to determine whether or not we are placed in the Regional Stay-at-Home order.

For the latest data, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc

Why may there be a decrease in case numbers for the City of Irvine? Does this mean there was a recovery?
Data posted each day by the Orange County Health Care Agency are always preliminary and subject to change. Case counts are adjusted as new investigatory details emerge such as residency information showing that a person is a resident of a different city or county. In addition, on May 26, the Health Care Agency began posting recovery data as part of a new data set. While every case of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is reported to HCA, there is no practical way to find out if they’ve recovered. Moreover, many people may have experienced some symptoms of COVID-19, but were not tested, making it impossible to know the exact number of COVID-19 infections and recoveries.​

What are the actual hospitalizations by age group?
The County posts information of cases by age group, race/ethnicity, and other factors on their website at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

I've heard about the State's new exposure notification app CA Notify, How can I opt-in?
The California Department of Public Health recently unveiled the CA Notify App, which allows California residents to opt-in to receive COVID-19 notifications informing them if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. By using Bluetooth technology, and exchanging information with others who use the app, if another CA Notify user you’ve been near in the last two weeks tests positive for COVID-19 and adds their unique, anonymous verification code to the app, you’ll get an anonymous notification that you have potentially been exposed. You will be referred to COVID-19 resources so you can quickly get the testing and care you need to prevent exposing others in your community. The app is now available for Android and iPhone users. For more information about the app, visit canotify.ca.gov. A list of FAQs is also available to learn more about the new application.

Compliance

How do I report violations of social distancing that I see in the community or at local businesses?
If you observe large gatherings or other violations, please call the Irvine Police Department non-emergency number at 949-724-7200.

How do I report a business that is not compliant with wearing face coverings?
Call the City of Irvine’s COVID-19 Helpline to report any business not compliant with the City’s orders. That hotline number is 949-724-8250. Additionally, you can email covid19help@cityofirvine.org

City Services & Facilities

How is the city helping the homeless and people needing food?
IPD’s Homeless Liaison Officers (HLO) have been conducting outreach to members of the homeless community during the pandemic. HLOs attempt to connect the individual or family to available local and county resources, including temporary housing, public transportation needs, food, etc. HLOs have been providing resource bags (basic toiletries, bottle of water, a few granola bars, and a few other basics that were donated by a local church) to those who would like one. If members of the community are concerned about the welfare of an individual experiencing homelessness, they can email outreach@cityofirvine.org. For emergency situations, please call 9-1-1.
For an individual or family in need of food, we would engage the Emergency Operations Center to get them connected to the appropriate resource. Anyone with a food need, or any other resource need, should call the COVID-19 Helpline at 949-724-8250 or email us at covid19help@cityofirvine.org

What are the fiscal impacts to the City budget and any delays and/or cancellations or planned projects for fiscal year 2020?
The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge in all facets. The City is working with our federal and state representatives, as well as the County Board of Supervisors to receive all available funding, such as Federal aid allocated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (or CARES) Act.

Are you planning to disinfect roads and public areas on a regular basis?
The public right-of-way is not being disinfected. However, the City’s landscaping maintenance, and street and sidewalk sweeping continues to take place, along with disinfection and wiping down of benches/drinking fountains/trash cans, and daily emptying of trash cans. These services continue to be performed, as well as promoting use of the outdoors and exercising good sanitary practices. In addition, over sixty (60) City of Irvine maintained buildings/facilities have been disinfected as part of the citywide COVID-19 effort, including City Hall. Finally, all playgrounds and tot-lot equipment was sanitized daily, prior the closure. This equipment will be sanitized again prior to reopening.

Is there any financial assistance for Irvine residents from the city of Irvine?
The City has created and staffed several hotlines to connect the public with resources that include financial assistance programs. Please visit the cityofirvine.org/covid19 website for a complete list of available City resources for individuals and families, small businesses, and seniors.

Why are community centers still being staffed?
Community Centers will be staffed during this time to monitor public use of parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields in an effort to ensure our community can enjoy City park amenities in a healthy and responsible manner, now and in the future.

How do people with disabilities acquire resources like masks or other needs?
The City’s Emergency Operation Center can help coordinate resources for those living with a disability that may need assistance during this time. Call the City of Irvine COVID-19 Helpline at 949-724-8250 daily between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m or email covid19help@cityofirvine.org

Which parks and trails are open during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The City’s parks and trails remain open for passive use. To promote proper social distancing, the following trails have been temporarily modified and converted to one-way trails: Bommer Meadow, Nature Loop, Bommer Pass and Quail Hill Loop.

Are Community Centers open?
As of November 7, under the Regional Stay-at-Home order, Indoor classes and programs are limited to camps and after-school programs for school-age children at the City's Community Centers. There will be no drop-in use of centers.  All social distancing measures and reduced facility and program capacities will be observed. For additional information, visit yourirvine.org

Are athletic fields and courts open?

In keeping with State guidance for outdoor recreation, City athletic fields, basketball courts, and volleyball courts are open for drop-in use (defined here by the Community Services policy) by individuals within the same household, while wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance from others outside of their household. No gatherings, no interaction between households, and no drop-in use for games, scrimmages, practices, or organized play of any kind.

In accordance with state guidelines, youth sports practices may continue on City fields and courts under the following conditions: Organized practices are limited to youth sports only, with a field allocation permit from the City of Irvine. Games of any kind are not permitted. Organizations are required to follow all state guidelines for player safety. See more information from the California Department of Public Health here.

Tennis and pickleball courts are open for play among single households only within each court. 

Stadiums may be open for professional sporting events without fans in attendance.  

Harvard Skate Park is open, with users required to maintain physical distance from others outside of their own household. Learn more at cityofirvine.org/skatepark.

Can my sports team resume practice at Irvine facilities?
On August 4, the California Department of Public Health released guidance to allow youth sports activities to resume, including school-based, club, and recreational programs. Beginning August 5, the City of Irvine began issuing permits for athletic facilities and fields for youth sports activities following the announcement. 

What is open at the Orange County Great Park?
For the latest information regarding what is open at the Orange County Great Park, visit our City Facility Updates webpage

Are playgrounds open?
As of December 9, 2020, new guidance from the California Department of Public Health allows playgrounds to reopen under the Regional Stay-at-Home Order. Visitors to the playgrounds are asked to follow health guidelines and wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others not in your household, and wash/sanitize hands before and after use. 

How can I volunteer?
The County has shared some ways community members can assist with efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by volunteering or donating. The most effective ways to support non-profit organizations is through monetary donations. OC United Way and Orange County Community Foundation have established monetary funds to support local non-profits and individuals within Orange County. Monetary donations are the best way to provide support for our local food banks, including OC Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank. For information about volunteering for a non-profit, visit oneoc.org. In addition, if you have a donation, you can contact the City of Irvine COVID-19 Helpline at 949-724-8250 or email at covid19help@cityofirvine.org

In addition, volunteers are needed to assist Orange County government staff with COVID-19 vaccinations at Points of Distribution (POD) sites this year. The County of Orange is looking to establish two teams of volunteers: those willing to serve as medical trained volunteers, and those willing to serve as general support volunteers. For more information, and to register as a volunteer, please visit the volunteer portal at oneoc.org. *Please use Google Chrome to access this form. 

What if I need childcare?
In order to ensure essential workers can find care the City partnered with child care agencies throughout the County to survey providers to find those who are still open and providing care. We now have that list posted on the City’s website both on the Finding Child Care webpage as well as linked to the COVID-19 webpage. There are at least 20 child care providers in Irvine operating with availability.

What are the guidelines for Rent/Eviction/Utility payments during this time?
On August 31, Gov. Newsom signed legislation that protects tenants from evictions and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. These protections apply to tenants who declare an inability to pay all or part of the rent due to a COVID-related reason. Under the legislation, no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021 as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020, if the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation's timelines. For a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due to avoid eviction. More information on the protection guidelines for tenants, landlords, homeowners, and partners can be viewed here

Additionally, the Irvine City Council also signed Resolution No. 20-29 which pertains to evictions, foreclosures, rent increases, or service and utility disconnections. This protection has been extended through January 13, 2021 and falls in line with the Governor's legislation mentioned above. In July, the City of Irvine opened a Rental Assistance Program for residents to apply for assistance with lease termination fees or rental payments due to the pandemic. Nearly 2,000 applications were submitted through the program. The program was created using $2,000,000 of federal CARES Act funding. The program was reopened in late September to allow for additional applicants to receive assistance. 

How can I donate personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Kaiser Permanente and Hoag hospitals are accepting PPE donations. For Kaiser donations, email kpcovid-19donations@kp.org with your name, information about what you're trying to donate, and a contact number; someone from Kaiser will get back to you. For Hoag donations (money and PPE): Public can contact the Hoag Hospital Foundation Administrator Angelina Morano at 949-764-7221. In addition, you can contact the City of Irvine COVID-19 Helpline at 949-724-8250 or covid19help@cityofirvine.org as our EOC has donation support set up.

Further Inquiries

How can residents access daily information regarding COVID-19? What communication channels are used to provide this information?
The City of Irvine posts updated information daily to its website, social media accounts, press releases, and email communication, in addition to active communication by the Irvine City Council. Should a resident have a questions, they are welcome to call the COVID-19 Helpline, daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 949-724-8250 or email us at covid19help@cityofirvine.org

Who do I call if I have questions about COVID-19? 
The City has established an COVID-19 Helpline for non-medical COVID-19 questions that pertain to Irvine. Community members can call 949-724-8250 daily between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m or email us at covid19help@cityofirvine.org. Additionally, you may call the Orange County Health Care Agency COVID-19 Hotline at 714-834-2000 or email them at ETeam@ochca.com

Who can I call with medical questions related to COVID-19?
Call the County of Orange COVID-19 Health Referral Hotline at 800-564-8448.

Business FAQ's

Who can businesses contact if they are in need of aid during the COVID-19 pandemic?
 Irvine businesses can call the City’s Economic Development office 949-724-6024.

When can businesses reopen, specifically office-based business, and religious organizations?
The California Department of Public Health has plans for each business sector to open per blueprint tier. View the list and compare opening per tier status here

When can private schools and tutoring centers open?
View your school’s status here. Schools in the Widespread (purple) tier aren’t permitted to reopen for in-person instruction, unless they receive a waiver from their local health department for TK-6 grades. Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Substantial (red) tier for at least two weeks. Schools must follow these guidelines when they reopen or if they have to close again. 

What is the plan for businesses that don’t neatly fit into a specific sector and therefore can’t identify a phase for reopening?
You may contact the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, or the Orange County Business Council for assistance.

Is there a Standard Handbook available for businesses to reopen for employees?
Business should follow the Governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy for reopening stages, as well as the Statewide Industry Guidance for relevant plans and preparations for reopening, specific for your industry.  

Will there be new protocols for existing transportation systems within the Spectrum area?
The Federal Highway Administration is working on plans to ensure funding is in place to keep our roads and infrastructure operating. In addition, OCTA is closely monitoring bus ridership to respond to demand while continuing to help protect the health of passengers and coach operators. To keep pace with OC Bus ridership trends and to allow for continued on-board social distancing, OCTA expects to adjust service levels and provide added trips on some routes in the coming month. In addition, OCTA awarded $35.5 million to Orange County cities to improve local streets.

What is being done about rent relief for businesses that were forced to shut down, and due to the new social distancing requirements, cannot operate the business at a capacity level for viability? Can the City provide business owners rent relief?
In June, the City of Irvine awarded 506 small businesses impacted by COVID-19 one-time grants of up to $10,000 through the Small Business Support Program. Businesses who were granted support include dining and entertainment, automotive, professional and personal services, communications, and technology. Funding for the program came from a $5 million grant from the County of Orange, through the federally approved CARES Act. Additionally, City Council Resolution No. 20-29 pertaining to evictions, foreclosures, rent increases, or service and utility disconnections has been extended through January 13, 2021, and falls in line with the Governor's Tenant and Landlord Protection Legislation which extends through February 1, 2021. 

Where can businesses – especially small, independent businesses – get financial assistance?
The County of Orange is currently developing proposals for the County Supervisors to enact funding for small businesses and cities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, eligible businesses can apply to the Orange County Workforce Development Layoff Aversion Support Fund Program. Apply at Oconestop.com.

Do you foresee adoption of an eviction moratorium for commercial property?  What concessions are you expecting commercial landlords and tenants to accept? Are there plans to help Irvine residents, or restaurants and hospitality businesses?
In late September and July, the City of Irvine opened a Rental Assistance Program for residents to apply for assistance with lease termination fees or rental payments due to the pandemic. Nearly 2,000 applications were submitted through the program. The program was created using $2,000,000 of federal CARES Act funding. Additionally, in June, the City of Irvine awarded 506 small businesses impacted by COVID-19 one-time grants of up to $10,000 through the Small Business Support Program. Businesses who were granted support include dining and entertainment, automotive, professional and personal services, communications, and technology. Funding for the program came from a $5 million grant from the County of Orange, through the federally approved CARES Act.