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Six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday announced a “shelter in place” order restricting all residents to their homes, with few exceptions, for at least the next three weeks — the strictest move announced to date in the U.S. in the response to the coronavirus.

The order will be effective after midnight on Monday evening and last until at least April 7.


The six counties affected by the order — Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara — have confirmed 258 coronavirus cases, as well as three deaths.

The order allows residents to leave their homes for limited purposes, such as to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy, or to go for a solitary walk or run. It also allows people to leave their homes to care for a family member or a vulnerable person in another household. People who live outside the affected counties will also be able to leave to return to their homes.

People will also be allowed to travel if they work for “essential businesses,”  a list ranging from gas stations to laundromats to news organizations. Emergency services and public transportation will also remain open. The order also allows for the work travel of people involved in “health care operations,” including the employees of biotech and pharma companies.


The order says that people who are homeless are exempted, though they “are strongly urged to obtain shelter” and governments and other entities are “strongly urged” to make such shelter available for them.

It is not clear how the order will be enforced. The order says that violating the order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or jail time and constitutes “an imminent threat to public health.”

The announcement came the same afternoon that President Trump urged the public to avoid “discretionary” travel, frequenting restaurants or bars, attending school in person, and gathering in groups of 10 or more.

  • This is decisive, solid action by those counties to curb the spread of this new SARS-CoV-2 virus. The whole nation should follow suit – TODAY !! It is totally shocking to see people still packed on Florida beaches, in bars, etc, in oblivion or stupid defiance. Trump with his brash conquer-all bragging has failed his people – is only now willing to accept (or aware?). There has been / is a flagrant lack of information in the US, even snow birds returning to Canada only find out at the airport of entry that they will have to be in isolation for 14 days (which is moronic on their part too). ALL governors need wisen up to what these 6 counties are doing, and protect all those they represent / ought to take care of – so that the effort can actually be effective. WAKE UP, USA !!!!

    • The mayors of Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale announced that beaches would be closed on Sunday until further notice. Hollywood, FL also announced the closing of the beach and Hollywood Broadwalk yesterday.

  • Bay Area, still trying to sound politically correct. It is a lockdown therefore it should be called a lockdown. “Shelter in place”, what a stupid name. I was wondering what “shelter in place” mean. Whoever taught of this name was plain ridiculous. I wonder how many hours did they wasted just to discussed to what politically correct name the lockdown should be called.

    • “Shelter in Place” is a well-established term in the disaster response vocabulary. It’s what you do when there is a refinery explosion, or a toxic chemical leak, for instance.

      (But why do I bother explaining something rational to an anonymous, know-nothing bot whose only goal is to sow division us so that their masters can take over, one way or another?)

  • I was on the road today here in Silicon Valley during morning rush and traffic was very light. Expressways and highways that are normally crawling bumper-to-bumper at that time had minimal traffic. Schools are all closed, and many of the people here have jobs that allow work-from-home even under normal conditions. Too bad about the people working for bars and restaurants because many of them won’t be paid. Fortunately, I stocked up on everything about a week before the first wave of panic buying, so I’ve got plenty of toilet paper, facemasks, disinfecting wipes, Kleenex, etc. Not sure why people buy toilet paper in a panic, but that was among the first things to become scarce even though covid-19 doesn’t raise poop production.

    • I’m assuming you mean that the rules aren’t strong enough in CA? People can’t be confined to the inside of their house. Some do need to go to work, need to go buy food and get medical care, need to go check on family members or maybe help out at homeless shelters/animal shelters. And need to be able to get outside for that solitary walk or run as that will help maintain mental stability–which can be a major problem, especially for people not used to being alone and/or who don’t have a nice comfy home to wait it out. Those not lucky enough to have a washer/dryer need to wash clothing/towels, etc. I think the rules are quite stringent and are within reason to having a balance of distance and maintaining normalcy and mental health. Plus getting outside for a little fresh air is also good for general health, which is needed to keep from getting sick.

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