The seven Bay Area Public Health Officers have extended the shelter-in-place orders through May 31 while some restrictions are eased and tools to strengthen containment of COVID-19 are put into place. These new Health Officer orders cover everyone living or working in 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.
All construction activities, certain businesses that operate primarily outdoors, and some outdoor activities will be allowed to resume with specific conditions.
Thanks to the collective action Bay Area residents have taken since mid-March, Health Officials believe many saved lives have been saved and mass hospitalizations from the COVID-19 virus have been staved off. However, officials do not wish to lose this progress by prematurely lifting restrictions. There is not yet an effective treatment or cure for the disease. 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 still overwhelm local hospitals.
“We understand how challenging shelter in place is, but we are clearly seeing the benefits,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Health Officer of Contra Costa County. “As we ease a small number of restrictions, it’s important to remember that the virus is still in our community. Now is not the time to ease up on maintaining social distancing, wearing a face covering, and staying home whenever possible.”
Under the new orders, all construction projects will be allowed to resume if the project complies with safety protocols included with the order.
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 are allowed to operate.
Certain outdoor businesses can also begin operating again, 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 but does 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 like skate parks, but not others that involve shared equipment or physical contact.
This order is generally consistent with the state’s shelter in place order. On any issue where the local and state orders may differ, the stricter order applies.
Health Officers are also releasing indicators that will be used to measure progress in containing the virus and ensuring we have the infrastructure in place to protect the community from COVID-19. These indicators will be critical to decisions in the coming weeks and months about when and how to ease shelter-in-place restrictions. The indicators include:
• 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 their contacts, isolating those who test positive and quarantining the people who may have been exposed.
This global pandemic of COVID-19 is still in its early stages. The virus spreads easily, testing capacity is limited and expanding slowly, and vaccine development is just beginning. Officials expect to be responding to COVID-19 in our communities for a long time. As effective as efforts have been, Officials fear moving too fast to ease restrictions, the potential of exponential spread could have grave impacts to health and wellness to residents as well as the economy.
Outdoor Activities Permitted
Here is a list of the activities you can do outdoors in California according to Gov. Newson most recent easing.
Athletics, badminton (singles), throwing a baseball/softball, BMX biking, canoeing (singles), crabbing, cycling, exploring rock pools, gardening (not in groups), golf (singles, walking – no cart), hiking (trails/ paths allowing distancing), horse riding (singles), jogging and running, kite boarding and kitesurfing, meditation, outdoor photography, picnics (with your stay-home household members only), quad biking, rock climbing, roller skating and roller blading, rowing (singles), scootering (not in groups), skateboarding (not in groups), soft martial darts – tai chi, chi kung (not in groups), table tennis , singles), throwing a football, kicking a soccer ball (not in groups), trail running, trampolining, tree climbing, volleyball (singles), walk the dog, wash the car, watch the sunrise or sunset, and yoga.