To help slow the spread of coronavirus, six Bay Area counties have issued shelter-in-place orders that require people to stay at home and leave only for essential activities. The orders go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, and cover the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara, as well as the City of Berkeley. The order will remain in place until April 7.
“We know we need a regional approach,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s public health officer, at a joint press conference Monday with representatives from each participating jurisdiction. “We must all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure our essential services remain intact and open.”
Here is a quick guide to what you need to know about sheltering at home:
What is considered an essential activity?
You can leave your residence to do the following things:
- Buy food, groceries or supplies
- Obtain medical care
- Work at a business that’s deemed essential
- Maintain an essential governmental function
- Maintain essential infrastructure
- Care for a family member or pet in another household
Otherwise, just being out and about — whether it’s on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile or public transit — is prohibited.
Essential infrastructure and governmental functions include:
- Health care operations
- Airports, roads, public transit
- Water, sewer, gas, solid waste collection services
- Telecommunications, including cellphone and internet services
- Construction, including to help house people experiencing homelessness
Public transit like BART and bus lines will remain open, but people should only use it if they’re engaging in activities or work deemed essential.
Essential businesses include:
- Hospitals and health care operations
- Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks
- Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out
- Airlines, taxis and ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber
- Gas stations
- News media
- Hardware stores
- Mailing, shipping and delivery services
- Agriculture and food cultivation
- Other services including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, laundry and legal services
- Schools and colleges, although many public school districts have already canceled in-person instruction
- Child care facilities, under certain conditions
- Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children, hotels, motels
- Home-based care for seniors, adults or children
A more detailed list is available here.
All other businesses not deemed essential have been instructed to shut down for the next three weeks.
Can I go hiking? What about seeing friends?
- You can engage in outdoor activities like walking your dog or hiking, but you should maintain 6 feet of distance from all other people.
- Gatherings of any size outside of homes and residences are prohibited, except if they’re for essential functions.
- And no dinner parties are allowed either: People from different households or living units should not gather, unless they’re conducting essential business.
A few other things you should know:
- All non-essential travel during this time should be canceled.
- The order does not apply to people experiencing homelessness, although they are strongly urged to seek shelter.