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 Ombudsman Hotline at 949-724-8250 daily between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
 


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 Substantial or Red Tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In this tier, some non-essential indoor business operations are closed; new daily cases remain between 4-7 per 100,000 residents; and positive tests remain between 5-8%.   

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 weekly and the criteria for the new tier must be met for two straight weeks before reopening can occur. Additionally, counties can only move one tier at a time.  

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

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. On Friday, June 26, the County began releasing new 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 latest case counts, visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

Why have I seen 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 guidelines for gatherings?
On October 9, 2020 The California Department of Public Health released updated guidelines for private gatherings that prohibit gatherings that include more than 3 households. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests. This new guidance applies to private gatherings, and all other gatherings not covered by existing sector guidance are prohibited. Gatherings are defined as social situations that bring together people from different households at the same time in a single space or place.

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.

What is the current status with the Stay-at-Home Order? When can we go back to work regularly?
The City of Irvine is observing the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order, which extends until further notice. Under the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the County of Orange is in the Substantial Red Tier, where some non-essential indoor business operations are closed. Please visit the Reopen Irvine webpage to view resources and tools to help businesses reopen responsibly. 

When and where do I have to wear a face covering in Irvine?
The City of Irvine has required face coverings or face shields anywhere in which you will come within 6 feet of people who do not live in your household. In addition, on June 18, Governor Newsom issued a statewide mandate requiring face coverings. 

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 hotline at 949-724-8250.

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 I report a business that is not compliant with wearing face coverings?
Call the City of Irvine’s COVID-19 Ombudsman Hotline to report any business not compliant with the City’s orders. That hotline number is 949-724-8250.

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 Hotline at 949-724-8250 daily between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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 Irvine golf courses open?
After careful consideration and following the State directive, the City Council, on Tuesday, April 28, voted to allow golf courses to open, based significantly upon the guidance set forth by the County of Orange, with additional City requirements in place for the protection of public health. The City of Irvine does not own or operate any municipal courses in the City.

Are Community Centers open?
Community Centers will open to registered summer program participants only, beginning June 22. Pre-registration is required and there will be no drop-in use of centers.  All social distancing measures and reduced facility and program capacities will be observed. 

Are athletic fields and courts open?
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. In addition, drop-in use of athletic fields for the public resumed on June 19 for members of the same household and for individuals practicing social distancing.  For more information, visit https://www.cityofirvine.org/athletics-sports.

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. 

Can Home Owners Association Tennis Courts open?
Yes, tennis courts maintained by Home Owners Associations can open for singles play with social distancing, doubles play among members of the same household, and City-led one-on-one instruction during regular operating hours with safety guidelines in place.

When can pools re-open?
As of June 12, the Orange County Health Officer, following state guidance has given approval for community pools and HOA pools to reopen. Additionally, The William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center, and Northwood High School Aquatics Center is open for modified programs such as lap swim and water walking by reservation, beginning June 15. For more information on these openings, visit cityofirvine.org/aquatics.

What is open at the Orange County Great Park?
The following areas are open at the Orange County Great Park with safety guidelines in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).:

  • Farm + Food Lab
  • Great Park Certified Farmers Market 
  • Outdoor park spaces for passive use
  • Sports stadiums for use by professional sports teams without spectators
  • Tennis Courts for singles play only, unless with members of the same household
  • Athletic fields, basketball courts, and volleyball courts for drop-in use by individuals, groups, and families with social distancing precautions. No more than 10 people in a gathering, and no more than 20 people to a field, and no more than two groups to a field - no interaction between groups. 
  • Great Park Gallery
  • Hangar 244
  • Artist Studios
  • Playgrounds

Are Summer Camps open?
Modified summer camp activities began June 22. Visit cityofirvine.org/camps for more information.

Are playgrounds open?
The City of Irvine playgrounds are open as of September 29, Per the State, playground visitors must comply with specific guidelines including wearing masks (for anyone over age 2) and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet apart. A complete list of requirements is available at cdph.ca.gov. This guidance does not apply to indoor playgrounds or family entertainment.

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 Hotline at 949-724-8250.

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.

Who do I call if I have questions about COVID-19? 
The City has established an Ombudsman hotline 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.

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 November 11 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 Hotline at 949-724-8250 as our EOC has donation support set up.

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.  

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 Ombudsman hotline, daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 949-724-8250.

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 https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

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 November 11, 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.