Six Bay Area counties, including San Francisco, have issued shelter-in-place orders beginning at midnight Tuesday and ending April 7 in order to slow the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, or Covid-19.
The counties’ health officers met over the weekend and determined the aggressive action was immediately necessary for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed held a press conference at City Hall with city and health officials to explain to residents that they will be allowed to go out for essential needs, such as purchasing groceries, picking up prescriptions, taking care of family members, getting gas, going to the bank or attending doctor’s appointments.
“These measures will be disruptive to day-to-day life, but there is no need to panic. Essential government services, like our police, our fire, our transit, our sanitation will continue.”
Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking and walking pets will still be allowed if alone or if distanced 6 feet from another person.
Restaurants will only be allowed to remain open for takeout service. Non-essential stores, such as gyms and bars, will not be open once the health order is in place. Over the weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars, pubs, nightclubs and other nonessential businesses to close with the exception of restaurants.
“The Bay Area as a region is coming together understanding the significance of the impacts of the coronavirus for the purposes of making sure we are keeping people (safe). We know in San Francisco we can’t do it alone. We have to work together.”
Dr. Grant Colfax, the Department of Public Health director, said The City is entering a new phase in its attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.
“As we look at the patterns in our country, state and region, we are seeing rapidly escalating cases and serious illnesses due to the coronavirus. This requires an escalating response. The evidence tells us now is the time to implement this step.”
Colfax also urged San Francisco residents not to rush to emergency rooms for coronavirus testing or for non-emergency needs. He advises people who are sick or believe they have the virus to call their health care providers.
The City Monday reported a total of 40 positive Covid-19 cases, according to the Department of Public Health.
The public can access current information about the virus and steps being taken by officials by texting Covid-19 to 888-777. Residents can also call 311 for additional information.