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Bay Area orders ‘shelter in place,’ only essential businesses open in 6 counties


A pedestrian crosses a nearly empty California Street at Polk as the city began to shut down following an order to shelter in place in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, March 16, 2020. The six Bay Area counties issued a shelter in place order for residents to try and curtail the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

13A pedestrian crosses a nearly empty California Street at Polk as the city began to shut down following an order to shelter in place in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, March 16, 2020. The six Bay Area counties issued a shelter in place order for residents to try and curtail the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
Jennifer Vaughn poses in front of the Starline Social Club she used to attend but now is boarded up due to the lockdown on Monday, March 16, 2020, in Oakland, Calif.

13Jennifer Vaughn poses in front of the Starline Social Club she used to attend but now is boarded up due to the lockdown on Monday, March 16, 2020, in San Francisco News Oakland, Calif. Photo: Paul Kuroda / Special to The Chronicle
Six Bay Area counties announced “shelter in place” orders for all residents on Monday — the strictest measure of its kind yet in the continental United States — directing everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks in a desperate move to curb the rapid spread of coronavirus across the region.



The directive was set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and involves San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties — a combined population of more than 6.7 million. It is to stay in place until at least April 7. The three other Bay Area counties — Sonoma, Solano and Napa — did not issue similar mandates.

The orders — which are all similarly worded — fall just short of a full lockdown, which would forbid people from leaving their homes without explicit permission. The orders (read San Francisco’s here in its entirety at tinyurl.com/waddyqv) call for county and city sheriffs and police chiefs to “ensure compliance,” and local authorities said they would not “rush to enforce” the directives as residents adjusted to understand what activities are no longer allowed. Violation of the orders is considered a misdemeanour punishable by a fine or jail time.

Businesses that do not provide “essential” services must Press Release Distribution Services  In San Francisco to send workers home. Among those remaining open are grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants for delivery only and hardware stores. Most workers are ordered to stay home, with exceptions including health care workers; police, fire and other emergency responders; and utility providers such as electricians, plumbers and sanitation workers. BART will run for essential travel, and airports are not closing.

“We were seeing a tipping point here in Santa Clara County with the exponential growth of our cases,” said Dr Sara Cody, health officer for the county, at a news conference Monday. The county had 138 cases as of Monday — an increase of 72 since Friday. “Over the weekend, I had a discussion with fellow health officers in the Bay Area and we realized that we are one region and that what’s happening in Santa Clara County today will soon be happening in the adjacent jurisdictions. We decided collectively we need to take swift action as soon as possible to prevent further spread.
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