Sonoma County’s top emergency management official enjoyed a family road trip to the beach despite a strict shelter-in-place order that has closed Sonoma County parks, beaches and open spaces in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Chris Godley, the director of Emergency Management and leader of the county’s Emergency Operation Center, said he regrets the Saturday trip to the Sonoma County coast, which came to light after photos of the family trip were posted on Facebook.
“I own this,” said Godley, who has been with the county for two years. “It was a day off for my family. Any reasoning or justification is going to sound thin.”
In photos a source shared with The Press Democrat, Godley and his family appear to enjoy an otherwise abandoned, unnamed 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.
Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose district encompasses the county’s coastline, was dismayed by Godley’s trip to the coast.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” she said. “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.”
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Susan Gorin said it was a learning experience, adding that it was time to move on.
Godley’s trip comes as area law enforcement agencies have pledged to step up enforcement. On Friday, Rohnert Park Public Safety Chief Tim Mattos announced officers would begin issuing warnings or citations to nonessential businesses that remain open or to people found loitering in parks and closed shopping centers.
Chris Godley, the county's director of emergency management, enjoyed a family trip to the beach Saturday despite a shelter-in-place order that has closed local parks and open spaces in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.