Seven Bay Area jurisdictions will institute a shelter-in-place order Tuesday in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Monday.
The order will apply to residents in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Marin counties and the city of Berkeley through at least April 7. Breed and other county authorities are expected to formally announce the order at 1 p.m.
Non-essential gatherings and travel will be banned as part of the order, which also directs residents to work from home or stop working unless they provide an “essential service” like those in the health care industry and law enforcement officers.
Essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, veterinary offices, gas stations and banks will also remain open under the order. “The most important thing you can do is remain home as much as possible,” Breed said in a Twitter post. “There is no need to rush out for food or supplies as these stores will remain open.”
The order will affect roughly 6.7 million people in the six counties. Homeless residents are exempt from the order but are advised to seek shelter.
Public health officials around the Bay Area have confirmed at least 258 cases of the virus, including at least three deaths. The Bay Area accounts for more than half of the confirmed cases across the state of California.
“Temporarily changing our routine is absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this pandemic,” said Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. “The health officers from the largest jurisdictions in the San Francisco Bay Area are united and we are taking this step together to offer the best protection to our respective communities.”
The number of cases is likely much higher, though, due to a dearth of testing kits.