Six Bay Area counties issued “shelter in place” public health orders on Monday, in one of the nation’s most stringent moves to slow the spread of the coronavirus — and a possible preview of what could be next for the rest of California.
The orders go into effect at midnight Tuesday and will last through at least April 7.
They are not a full lockdown, but limit travel for 6.7 million residents to essential trips to places such as hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. People can also walk and exercise outside, but should practice social-distancing by keeping six feet away from anyone they don’t already live with.
“Vulnerable populations must stay home. Everyone should stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job,” a city of San Francisco news release read.
They apply to San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
“If we don’t take very firm, decisive steps right now and if we don’t temporarily alter our lives significantly, as much pain as that will cause, we will have much more pain later on,” state Sen. Scott Weiner, a Democrat from San Francisco, told CapRadio, adding that the state and nation are at “a tipping point” in the fight against the virus.
Wiener said the orders were issued by health officers in each of the six counties.
“Necessary government functions & essential stores will remain open,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed wrote on Twitter. “These steps are based on the advice of public health experts to slow the spread of #COVID19.”
The city of San Francisco’s website said these essential services will remain open:
- City/County government services: police stations, fire stations, hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations, jails, courts, garbage/sanitation, transportation (including Muni), utilities (water, power and gas), and city offices
- Gas stations
- Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
- Hardware stores/plumbers
- Community benefit organizations on a case-by-case basis
- Laundromats/laundry services
“This could be inevitable in other parts of the state, as well, depending on the spread of the virus,” Wiener added. “It is in everyone’s interest to slow down the spread and to preserve the capacity of our healthcare system to save people’s lives.”
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