Shelter in Place Advice

Councilmember Kate Harrison
Monday March 16, 2020 - 06:48:00 PM

Governor Newsom has issued a "shelter in place" order for the next three weeks until April 7 in six Bay Area counties, including Alameda County, starting at midnight tonight. Everyone is asked to stay inside their homes as much as possible, and non-essential businesses are temporarily closing while public health officials work to curb the spread of coronavirus. Individuals are being asked to: 

  • Stay inside their homes.
  • Cease gathering in groups (except as a household or family unit).
  • Stop traveling by foot, bicycle, car, or public transit except to perform essential activities or travel to and from essential businesses (essential is defined below)
  • Anyone who is at high risk (including older adults and individuals with chronic health issues, read more HERE) should stay in their homes to the fullest extent possible, except as necessary to seek medical care.
  • This order is not applicable to unhoused individuals, though the governor is urging everyone to find a way to get indoors as soon as possible, and urging cities to take emergency measures to get people housed.
This is a frightening time, but we should be proud that California is taking decisive action to protect the general welfare at a time when the federal government is unwilling or unable to do so. Social distancing and sheltering in place will save lives by slowing the spread of the virus. 

This order comes in light of three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the City of Berkeley, as well as at least 258 confirmed cases and three confirmed deaths in the entire Bay Area. Widespread testing is not yet available, but is expected to increase in the coming days. 

The order specifies that individuals may leave their homes to perform "essential activities". Essential activities include the following: 

  • Engaging in activities essential to health or to the health of your family or household (such as obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a healthcare professional)
  • Obtaining necessary services or supplies or delivering those supplies to others (such as groceries and products to maintain the safety and sanitation of your home)
  • Outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, or running, as long as proper social distancing efforts are made
  • Caring for a family member in another household
  • Going to work or working in an essential sector (such as healthcare, solid waste collection, public works, and emergency services)
The entire order can be found HERE. If you are not sure whether you work in an "essential sector" please read Section 10 of the order carefully, and feel free to reach out to my office with questions. And remember to care for one another as best you can. Community is our best tool in the fight against this pandemic.