Bay Area residents are officially being urged not to leave their homes, with very few exceptions “for essential outings,” in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counties, starting at midnight tonight.
The full lockdown we had feared is here, or at least it will be in a matter of hours. The Chronicle has just reported, and Mayor London Breed has confirmed at a press conference, that “shelter in place” orders go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. That means at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, residents in the six above-named counties, are officially under orders to not leave their homes because of the unfolding coronavirus outbreak. (Breed's order applies to San Francisco, and the other counties are all issuing similar orders.) Grab your groceries and then hunker down inside, people!
You can keep walking your dog at a safe distance from other people, and grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are remaining open, and restaurants will stay open for takeout only. This order adds to but does not override Governor Gavin Newsom's call on Sunday to keep all people 65 years old and over, and those with underlying health conditions, in their homes for the time being.
The local order is in effect until at least Tuesday, April 7, and Mayor Breed said that it can still be amended, lengthened, or shortened as new information arrives.
Effective at midnight, San Francisco will require people to stay home except for essential needs.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) March 16, 2020
Necessary government functions & essential stores will remain open.
These steps are based on the advice of public health experts to slow the spread of #COVID19.
“The new public health order that we’re announcing will require San Franciscans to remain at home, with exceptions only for essential outings,” Mayor Breed announced in a press conference Monday (video below, no one starts talking until the 14:00 mark). “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 [department], our transit, and sanitation will continue,” the mayor asserted. “Your garbage will be picked up. Police officers will be out there on the front line.”
Please stay inside unless you have essential business to tend to. We are in this together. Reach out to your neighbors if you are able. We’ll keep working hard to mitigate the long and short term consequences of COVID-19 for workers and all San Franciscans. pic.twitter.com/hKaTl5sV2z— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) March 16, 2020
“Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations will remain open,” the mayor insisted. “Restaurants will be open for take-out only. But non-essential stores like bars and gyms will close effective midnight tonight.”
There are a few more exceptions. According to the Examiner, you are prohibited from leaving your home "except to meet basic needs including visiting the doctor, or buying groceries or medicine, until at least April 7." You can still take a walk, walk your dog, or exercise outdoors, but you're urged to remain six feet away from other people.
“We know that there will be more that we need to,” Mayor Breed said Monday. “My fellow San Franciscans, what we are asking everyone to do is to remain at home for all but the most essential outings for your safety, and the safety of those around you.”
Breed's press conference followed immediately after a White House briefing in which federal officials and President Trump issued a sweeping, unprecedented, and similar call for self-isolation nationwide for the next 15 days. Nationally, Americans are being encouraged to avoid groups of more than 10 people, and also being told to generally stay at home except for essential trips to doctors and grocery stores.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the national infectious disease expert who's been on television a great deal the past several weeks, said at the press conference, "I say it over and over again: When you’re dealing with an emerging infectious diseases outbreak, you are always behind where you think you are."
Also speaking the press conference, Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx specifically called on the Millennial generation to heed these calls, stop socializing for a period of time, and recognize that they may not be symptomatic while still able to infect their parents and grandparents. As CNet reports on her comments, "They're the ones that are out and about... they're the ones that are most likely to be asymptomatic. There's more Millennials now than any other cohort at this moment and they can help us."
This is a developing story and will be updated.
See all SFist Coronavirus coverage here.
Image: @thomasle via Unsplash