Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Crime & Emergencies
Published on March 16, 2020
Shelter-in-place order for 6 Bay Area counties goes into effect 12:01 a.m. TuesdayMayor London Breed speaks at a press conference on Monday announcing the shelter-in-place order | Photo: London Breed/Twitter

Six Bay Area counties announced shelter-in-place orders on Monday afternoon, requiring residents to stay in their homes except to perform "essential activities" until April 7. The orders are effective beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17.

The orders apply to residents of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Marin, and Santa Clara counties.

Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes to get medical care, take care of a family member or a pet, obtain medical supplies and groceries, or work at a job providing an "essential service," according to the order published by the SF Department of Public Health.

The full text of the order for San Francisco, published at 1 p.m. on Monday, requires all bars, gyms, and recreation centers to close.

The order details a long list of "essential services" which are permitted to stay open, notably including restaurants providing food for take-out or delivery. The list also includes:

  • Healthcare services, home-based care
  • Grocery stores, farmer's markets, farms, or any business that sells or cultivates food
  • Delivery services and businesses providing shipping, mailing or P.O. Box services
  • Newspapers, radio stations, and other media
  • Gas stations, auto supply, and auto repair businesses
  • Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians
  • Any business that provides services to seniors, low-income or homeless people
  • Any business providing support, supplies or services to any essential service.

According to the text of the order, violating any provision will be punishable by  "fine, imprisonment, or both," but the order provides no details on how it will be enforced.

Homeless people are exempted from the order, but are "strongly urged to find shelter." The order also urges government agencies to provide shelter for homeless people.

Mayor London Breed announced in a statement on March 10 that the city would spend $5 million to provide temporary shelter for homeless people, and provide other services for people in shelters.

The city published a website with frequently asked questions about the order.

The order also exempts "outdoor activity" like walking, hiking, or running, provided people follow social distancing requirements:

  • Wash hands as frequently as possible, with liquid soap and water, rubbing for at least 20 seconds, or with hand sanitizer, as frequently as possible
  • Cough or sneeze into the elbow or sleeve, not the hands
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance from others
  • Do not shake hands