Bay Area Shelter-in-Place Orders Extended Through May 31

Pedestrians walk by graffiti on April 20, 2020 in San Francisco encouraging people to wear masks. Regional shelter-in-place orders have been extended through May 31. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Regional shelter-in-place orders to curb the spread of the coronavirus have been extended through May 31, according to a joint press release from seven public health officials. This order applies to the six Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara, as well as the City of Berkeley, an independent public health jurisdiction.

The new order eases some restrictions from the previous order, including:

  • Certain construction projects, so long as the project complies with the safety protocols in the order.
  • Some businesses that operate primarily outdoors, like wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers, gardeners and other businesses that provide outdoor services. This does not include restaurants or bars with outdoor seating.
  • Certain outdoor activities — like skate parks, golf courses and fields — that were previously shut down can resume, so long as there is no shared equipment or physical contact.

The order also allows certain child care facilities, including "summer camps and other educational or recreational institutions or programs," to reopen for the children of essential workers. The orders require that groups of children be no larger than 12, and that children not change from one group to another. During his daily press briefing, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the opening of these child care facilities would be a "point of clarification" between the state and Bay Area health officials.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody praised the progress that Bay Area residents had made and said the new order is designed to "preserve" that progress.

"If we move too fast to ease restrictions, the potential of exponential spread could have grave impacts to the health and wellness of our residents, as well as to our economy," Cody said.

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Additionally, Cody announced that local health officials will look toward the following indicators in determining the easing of restrictions around the shelter-in-place order:

  • Whether the total number of cases is flat or decreasing.
  • Whether the number of hospital patients is flat or decreasing.
  • If there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for all health care workers.
  • Whether the region is meeting the need for testing.
  • Whether there is the capacity to investigate all COVID-19 cases, conduct contact tracing and the ability to isolate positive cases and quarantine those who've been exposed.

"Our goal is to gingerly chart a course so we can be the most health-protective," Cody said. "Our plan is to go slow, learn all that we can and continue to work across sectors — and all levels of government — to rapidly stand up the infrastructure and systems that we need, and to chart the best path forward to protect and preserve the health of the residents that we all collectively serve."

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Cody did not provide a timeline for easing restrictions in the future, but said that — without a vaccine — the area would likely see some safety restrictions for a "very, very long time."

Officials with Santa Clara County acknowledged the confusion and frustration residents are experiencing and urged the public to be patient.

"We are almost there. We are asking for continued patience, and continued leadership from all of you," said Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez.

The new orders takes effect on May 4. The new orders are consistent with the state's shelter-in-place order, and on any issue where the local and state orders may differ — the stricter order applies.