County Health Officials Order Six Bay Area Counties to Shelter in Place Due to COVID-19

CATEGORY: Special Bulletins
CLIENT TYPE: Nonprofit, Private Education, Public Education, Public Employers, Public Safety
PUBLICATION: LCW Special Bulletin
DATE: Mar 16, 2020

Today public health officials from six (6) Bay Area Counties (San Francisco City and County, Contra Costa County, Alameda County, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Marin County)  announced new orders directing all individuals within these jurisdictions to shelter in place.  Public health officials explained that all businesses, except “essential businesses,” must cease operations.  The shelter in place orders will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 17th, and will remain in place for at least three (3) weeks.   Public health individuals explained that a regional shutdown is needed to halt the spread of the virus, prevent unnecessary deaths, and to prevent hospitals from being overrun.

During the announcement, public health officials stated they will be issuing guidance and FAQs that outline when individuals can leave their homes, and what businesses are essential.   County officials stated that pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, health services, and government and infrastructure services that provide essential services will remain open.   Restaurants will be permitted to stay open to provide delivery services.  There will be child care services for workers who perform essential services. County public officials explained that people could leave their homes to get medicine from the pharmacy and to go to the doctor for essential services.  There was also clarification provided that individuals will be able to leave their homes and go for walks, but they must maintain social distancing protocols of at least six (6) feet from other individuals who are not family members.

Businesses that provide essential services will be required to implement social distancing protocols to ensure individuals are six (6) feet from one another.  Mass transit will remain open for essential services, such as travel for workers who perform work for essential businesses.   Individuals who are traveling on public transit will be required to comply with social distancing protocols.

People who are homeless are exempt from this order, but public officials urged them to obtain shelter, and strongly urged government to provide shelters. County officials explained that there are other exceptions to this order, and they will be posting FAQs with additional information.

Public officials explained that these directives will be up to each city and local jurisdiction to implement.  There was further clarification provided that each city will determine what essential services will still be provided.  Public officials explained that police officers would be enforcing these directives if necessary.

Public officials also explained that testing within these counties has begun to accelerate, and there are now COVID-19 testing sites in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  Public officials expect the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to increase dramatically as a result of increased testing.

LCW will continue to provide updates as counties and cities provide additional guidance regarding this shelter in place order.

LCW Attorneys in our San Francisco office are able to work remotely and will continue to serve our clients during this time.