Bay Area extended shelter-in-place order eases some restrictions

Bay Area extended shelter-in-place order eases some restrictions
Image of coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, courtesy of the Center for Disease Control, or CDC.

While the shelter-in-place order has been extended until May 31, Bay Area health officers announced Wednesday the easing of some restrictions, including the allowance of all construction activities that practice certain safety protocols and the opening of certain outdoor businesses.

Under the order, effective May 4, outdoor businesses which normally operate primarily outdoors, including gardening and landscaping services, nurseries, and agricultural operations, can resume with proper social distancing. Commercial and residential real estate transactions are allowed with continued restrictions on in-person viewings and appointments.

Also, shared outdoor recreational facilities that don’t encourage gathering or contain high-touch equipment are allowed, such as golf, tennis and pickle ball courts and skate parks. However, playgrounds, gyms, climbing walls, picnic areas, dog parks, pools, spas, barbecue areas must remain closed to the public.

In addition, childcare, summer camps, educational and recreational programs are allowed in “stable groups of 12 or fewer children” that includes the same children every day.

Moving forward, public health officials will use a number of key indicators to decide whether to ease restrictions further in the near future, including whether the total number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are flat or decreasing for 14 straight; whether there is sufficient hospital capacity; whether at least 200 viral detection tests are being conducted per 100,000 residents per day (which is 2,200 in Contra Costa); whether new confirmed cases can be safely and adequately isolated; and whether there is at least a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment available for all healthcare providers.

“I know how much financial hardship is being felt by families and businesses during these challenging times,” Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said in an eUpdate. “That’s why we’ve passed a rent freeze countywide with substantial eviction protections, and funded community non-profits who are providing vital services to vulnerable residents. We also continue to advocate for more Federal and State resources for impacted individuals.”

Added 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.”

Here is the full order.