Orders in effect until May 31

SEVEN Bay Area jurisdictions announced this week that they will begin easing restrictions on certain activities, as shelter-in-place orders have been extended until 31.

The counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara as well as the City of Berkeley, an independent public health jurisdiction, announced on Wednesday, April 28 that all construction projects, certain businesses that operate primarily outdoors, and some outdoor activities “will be allowed to resume with specific conditions.”

The relaxed order will take effect starting May 4 in the counties.

This comes after the same Public Health Officers of the counties as well as the City of Berkeley announced on Monday, April 27 that the shelter-in-place orders have been extended until May 31 to continue slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. The areas have been under these restrictions since mid-March.

All real estate transactions will also now be able to resume, but with continued restrictions on open houses and limitations on in-person viewings. Any employee allowed to return to work at a facility can also access childcare programs that can operate.

Certain outdoor businesses will get the green light to re-open, and people can visit those businesses to perform work or obtain goods, services, or supplies. This includes wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers, gardeners, and other businesses that primarily provide outdoor services as set forth in the order.

Outdoor businesses do not include restaurants, cafes or bars, regardless of whether they have outdoor seating.

Other activities that can resume under the new order include residential moves and the use of certain shared outdoor recreational facilities that were previously ordered closed, like skate parks, but not others that involve shared equipment or physical contact.

This initial, measured easing of some restrictions is designed to set the stage for a gradual resumption of activity and prevent rapid, exponential growth of cases that could overwhelm hospitals for a particular jurisdiction or the region as a whole.

“This impact of the virus has been hard for many of us, but we are now on a path for steady progress, which now allows some low-risk activities to return,” said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, Health Officer for the City of Berkeley. “This virus is still in our communities. We need everyone to shelter-in-place apart from the few exceptions – and wear a face covering when out.”

San Mateo County’s order differs from the orders in other counties by restricting outdoor recreation to within 10 miles of a person’s residence. This restriction applies not only to San Mateo County residents but also to residents of other counties who wish to travel to San Mateo County for outdoor recreation.

Residents of other counties are not prohibited from entering San Mateo County for other activities allowed by the order, but this provision, which is consistent with the State order, does prohibit those living more than 10 miles from San Mateo County from traveling to San Mateo County for recreation.

In addition in San Mateo County, beach parking lots and adjacent parking areas must remain closed to the public for beach access, and local authorities are encouraged to close or prohibit parking in areas adjacent to beaches as necessary to prevent crowds that cannot feasibly comply with the requirements of the order.

The Health Officers of the seven jurisdictions released indicators that will be used to measure progress in containing the virus:

• Whether the total number of cases in the community is flat or decreasing;

• Whether the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is flat or decreasing;

• Whether there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for all health care workers;

• Whether we are meeting the need for testing, especially for persons in vulnerable populations or those in high-risk settings or occupations; and

• Whether we have the capacity to investigate all COVID-19 cases and trace all of their contacts, isolating those who test positive and quarantining the people who may have been exposed.

There are 7,273 confirmed cases and 266 deaths in the seven jurisdictions, as of April 28. On March 15, when the first order took effect, there were only 258 confirmed cases and 4 deaths.

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