On March 31 at 11:59 p.m., a new stay-in-place order took effect to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The new stay-at-home order will be extended through May 3, 2020, in order to preserve critical hospital capacity.
Six counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, as well as the city of Berkeley, have instituted the new order that requires nonessential businesses to remain closed and for residents to stay indoors and only leave home when doing essential activities, such as grocery shopping.
According to Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County in a news release, “extending the stay-at-home order should reduce the number of sick patients seeking care at one time, giving us time to acquire more medical supplies for providers who will be providing care to people sick with COVID-19.”
In the same news release, Dr. Farnitoano adds that “the extension will allow doctors and nurses to better treat those who do get sick and save countless lives. The new stay-at-home order will supersede the previous order and go into effect immediately.”
The new order defines what essentials business are, what activities are prohibited, and new directives. The use of playgrounds and other similar recreational areas is prohibited and closed for public use. Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment, as well as shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, etc. are prohibited.
Funeral homes and cemeteries; moving companies, rental car companies and ride-share services that specifically enable essential activities are still allowed. Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities must scale down operations to their essential component only.
The new order also requires essential businesses to develop a social distancing protocol before April 3. Most construction, residential and commercial has been deemed nonessential and is prohibited. However, the expansion of essential businesses now includes service providers that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies, realtors, etc.).
Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Dr. Grant Colfax, stated in a recent news release, “what we need now, for the health of all our communities, is for people to stay home. Even though it has been difficult, the Bay Area has really stepped up to the challenge so far, and we need to reaffirm our commitment. We need more time to flatten the curve, to prepare our hospitals for a surge, and to do everything we can to minimize the harm that the virus causes to our Communities.”
Coronavirus (COVID-19), is a virus so new and unique that it has no approved medicines or vaccines and social distancing is the most powerful tool to slow the spread.