On Tuesday, March 31, key Bay Area health jurisdictions extended the ‘shelter in place’ order through May 3, with new rules added.
As expected the ‘shelter in place’ order has been extended until May 3 for the following Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, as well as the City of Berkeley. The joint announcement went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. This is a month more than than the initial order, reflecting the risks and pressures of the outbreak.
While the number of cases continues to rise, officials have reported a marginally lower rate of transmission. However, in order to lower the strain on hospitals, a stricter order has been deemed necessary.
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) March 31, 2020
The order will follow the outlines of the initial one, but “essential services” have been expanded to include “service providers that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies, Realtors, etc.); funeral homes and cemeteries; moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities.”
Along with that, the following restrictions have been added to those that are operating:
Grocery stores and restaurant takeouts
- Each entity will need to produce “Social Distancing Protocol” before April 3 and post it in the entrance of their facility using this template here
- Signage to be added at each public entrance of the facility informing all shareholders to “avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever; maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another; sneeze and cough into a cloth or tissue or, if not available, into one’s elbow; and not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact”
- A per-person limit on “goods that are selling out quickly”
- Each facility is required to have a person at the door to ensure the number of customers instore is not exceeded
- No reusable bags, mugs or other items can be used
- To address social distancing “tape or other markings at least six feet apart in customer line areas inside the store and on sidewalks at public entrances with signs directing customers to use the markings to maintain distance” will need to be installed
- Objects like pens, payment keypads and shopping baskets that customers share must be disinfected after every use
Public areas, playgrounds and parks
The new order includes the closure of all the following:
- Dog parks
- Public picnic areas and similar recreational areas
- Funerals will be limited to 10 people
- Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment must be limited to people in the same household
- Construction is prohibited
Schools will remain closed and a letter from California’s schools chief Tony Thurmond suggests that they will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. The letter stated that “Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing, it appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.” It was sent to the state’s 58 county superintendents of schools on Tuesday morning.
However, schooling is expected to continue from home with Thurmond writing “This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.”
Failure to comply with the restrictions will result in fines or arrests, which have not been specified yet.
Featured image: Eduardo Santos