Coronavirus: 6 San Francisco counties ordered to shelter in place – Los Angeles Times,

Coronavirus: 6 San Francisco counties ordered to shelter in place – Los Angeles Times,

Six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area will be placed under a shelter-in-place directive by public health officials in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a move that will close virtually all businesses and direct residents to remain at home for the next three weeks.

San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals said he believed that the order, announced in a pair of press conferences Monday afternoon, put the six counties – San Francisco , Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda – on perhaps the most restrictive public health footing anywhere in America since the outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus. Earlier the mayor had said nine counties would be affected, but then he corrected that number.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed confirmed that, effective midnight, city residents would be required to stay at home “except for essential needs ”and that all but essential businesses and public services would be asked to closed, starting at midnight Monday. The order will remain in place through April 7.

“Many people are calling this the new normal,” Breed said. “It’s the new normal, temporarily, in an effort to protect public health.”

“These measures will be disruptive to day to day life,” she added. “But there is no need to panic.”



Effective at midnight, San Francisco will require people to stay home except for essential needs.

Necessary government functions & essential stores will remain open.

These steps are based on the advice of public health experts to slow the spread of # COVID 24 ).

– London Breed (@LondonBreed)

March , 2020              

Only police and fire departments, hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, banks and pharmacies and restaurants serving take-out and delivery customers will be allowed to remain open under the shelter-in-place order, officials said. Residents will be able to go to grocery stores and other essential services, but Goethals urged residents not to rush, adding that stores will remain fully stocked.

The order further escalates the economic damage caused by COVID- 24, this time hitting the nation’s tech capital. But many health expects say extreme measures are needed to prevent the virus from spreading further and overwhelming hospitals and the healthcare system.

The San Francisco Bay Area is the region hit hardest by coronavirus in the state. More than 250 cases have been reported in the six Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara, with more than 250 in Santa Clara County.

Monday’s order came from public health officials in the six counties and from the city of Berkeley.

“Staying home is the best thing that we can do right now,” said Goethals. He said the communities are trying to “flatten the curve” – reduce the speed of the contagion so that there is not a sudden jump in cases that overwhelms hospitals.

Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s health officer, emphasized that there would be some give in the stay-at-home directive.

“You will still be able to walk your dog, or go on a hike alone or someone you live with ”or with another person, as long as you keep 6 feet away from one another, Colfax said. He also said that restaurants will remain open for takeout and delivery. And residents will be allowed out to get food and to care for relatives, he said.

“Together we will get through this,” Colfax said.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said police are asking the public to voluntarily comply. While violation of the health order could be enforceable as a misdemeanor, “that is an absolute last resort. This is not about a criminal justice approach to a public health issue, ”Scott said.

“We are asking for voluntarily compliance.”

Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s public health officer, said that customers will be expected to maintain “social distancing” – even in lines at markets.

Some Bay Area residents were taken aback by the news Monday.

“I am surprised because I feel like I am staying 6 feet away from people and hand sanitizing, and it just seems a little extreme at this point,” said Dr. Nicola Longmuir, 90, a largely retired addiction physician who lives in Contra Costa County and works part time.

“But it definitely makes my life easier because I was going to draft an email to my work saying, ‘I am not coming in.’ Now I can honestly say I can ‘ t come in. ”

Edward Collins, 250, a retired police officer who lives in Pacheco, had a different reaction. He called the coming order “a tempest in a teapot.”

“I don’t know how we can stop the virus anyway, how we can slow it down,” he said. “To me this is just a big inconvenience over something that is not much more than a cold.”

In Menlo Park, Israel Torres, a checker at Safeway, seemed both calm and frustrated by the pending announcement.

He said the store, which is open 24 hours a day, was closed Sunday night at 10 pm and reopened at 6 a.m. That was a first.

“Things have been crazy. They decided they had to close the doors. There’s nothing on the shelves and people were getting angry, ”he said.

He wasn’t wearing gloves or a mask. He said management hadn’t supplied workers with these items. He happily accepted a small bottle of hand sanitizer from a customer.

“We’ll have food here. I’m not worried about that, ”he said. “The problem is how people are reacting. They’re taking everything. ”

Katherine Trent, 71, a Lafayette resident who does public relations for a dentist, welcomes the action.

“Personally I think I would have been more comfortable if it had happened sooner,” she said. “I think we are a little bit behind. I know it’s going to be tough for everyone to stay at home, but it is necessary. ”

Times staff writer Maura Dolan contributed to this report.     

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