On March 16, Bay Area County Health Officers (Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Marin) issued a Mandatory Health Order directing people to shelter at home, except when providing or receiving essential services, or for essential travel.
The order will last until April 7, but may be extended.
The Health Officers have taken these new steps to slow the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus. Without this restrictive action, our healthcare systems may become overwhelmed.
While these measures are drastic and will impact millions of people in unique and challenging ways, Health Officers from across the region strongly believe that if these measures are delayed the situation will become worse, with more serious illness and death.
The main provisions of the Health Order are as follows:
All residents should shelter at home and leave only for “essential activities” or “essential travel” which include:
• Performing tasks essential to their family’s health and safety, including their pets
• Obtaining necessary services/supplies, including groceries
• Engaging in outdoor activities without coming into close contact with others
• Performing work at an “essential business” (defined below) or to carry out activities permitted in the Health Order
• Obtaining services at any healthcare facility (including veterinary care but not gyms)
• Travel to obtain or deliver goods or services to households or other entities
• Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons. Including pets.
• Travel to educational institutions to receive materials for distance learning or meals and other related services
• Travel related to providing or accessing services exempted in the order
All non-essential businesses shall cease operation except to maintain “minimum basic operations.” Essential businesses include:
• Healthcare operations
• Grocery stores (including stores like Target that sell both grocery and non-grocery items)
• Pharmacies and healthcare supply stores
• Gas stations, auto supply and repair
• Banks and financial institutions
• Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other services to maintain safety and sanitation and essential operations of homes and businesses
• Educational institutions for purposes of facilitating distance learning
• Laundromats and dry cleaners
• Restaurants and prepared food facilities, but only for delivery or carry out (no table service)
• Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers for essential activities
• Businesses that supply other businesses providing products or services exempted in the Health Order
• Shipping and mailing services including PO boxes
• Businesses that deliver goods and services directly to residences
• Childcare facilities to enable employees exempted in the Order to work
• Home-based care and residential facilities for seniors, adults, children
• Essential governmental functions and essential infrastructure
• Newspapers, TV, and other media
Other important points:
All gatherings of any number are prohibited except as needed to carry out essential activities, maintain operation of essential businesses, or for essential governmental functions.
All first responders, law enforcement personnel and those performing essential governmental functions are exempt from the Order.
This Order does not apply to the operations of Federal and State agencies, this includes airports.
Public transit remains open to allow people to engage in “essential travel.”
Each local governmental entity shall identify which employees are needed to continue providing essential governmental functions.
Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Mitchoff at firstname.lastname@example.org