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State protects public health officials under threat with confidential address program

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order this week allowing public health officials to join the state’s confidential address program in response to threats and harassment they have faced during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The order allows local health officials and public health officers to join the state’s Safe at Home program, which is administered by the California Secretary of State’s office.

The program is generally used by reproductive health care workers and victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, human trafficking and elder abuse.

Program participants are given a substitute address at which they can receive their mail. The substitute address can also be used for city, county and state government business in lieu of a person’s actual residential address.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla said:

“Our public health officers have all too often faced targeted harassment and stalking. The Safe at Home program can help provide more peace of mind to the public health officials who have been on the frontlines of California’s COVID-19 response.”

Newsom’s order also authorized local governments to pause evictions of commercial tenants through March 31, 2021.

Commercial tenants were not included in the state’s Tenant Relief Act, which Newsom signed Aug. 31 and offers protections to renters who have been financially affected by the pandemic.

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