Five days into the shelter-in-place order, San Francisco police have yet to cite a single person for violating the command, opting to educate the public about the order rather than issue tickets.
Rumors have been swirling on social media that San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers cited multiple locals for not obeying the now Bay Area-wide shelter-in-place order. Yesterday afternoon, though, SFPD took to Twitter to dispel those myths and clear the air.
#SFPD has received multiple media inquiries regarding social media posts alleging we have issued fines/citations for violating the county's public health order. That info. is incorrect. The incident occurred in a jurisdiction outside of #SF. pic.twitter.com/j9MakI21UP— San Francisco Police (@SFPD) March 20, 2020
The Examiner reported that SFPD tweeted out the following statement Friday around lunchtime: “To date, we have not issued any citations related to the public health order."
Per the City and County of San Francisco, the order still permits a swath of normal activities — walking your dog, exercising outside, grocery shopping — as long as proper social distancing is practiced. The Examiner's Michael Barba noted that while Police Chief Bill Scott has said violators will only be cited as a “last resort,” SFPD deputies do possess the power to issue a "misdemeanor citation," one that would require a court appearance.
A related violation is punishable by "a fine, imprisonment or both," according to the local order. In lieu of dishing-out citations, SFPD is choosing to actively teach the public on the order and what it entails.
We're all in this together. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home.— San Francisco Police (@SFPD) March 21, 2020
Help stop the spread of #COVIDー19 . Be sure to visit https://t.co/OfkeUXkQ74 for important public health information. #SF #SanFrancisco #SFPD #FightCOVID19 #bayareacoronavirus pic.twitter.com/36EWWvNkw6
The shelter-in-place order — that now includes all nine Bay Area counties after Solano finally bent the knee two days ago — was enacted to mitigate the spread of the novel respiratory virus, which can live for hours outside of a host's body.
According to John Hopkins University and Medicine's COVID-19 map, there are nearly 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus currently in the United States.
More information on SF's shelter-in-place order can be read here.