Six counties in Northern California have ordered all residents to “shelter in place” in an effort to stop the coronavirus from surging.
The order, which takes effect Tuesday, is expected to disrupt life for millions of residents in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. The city of Berkeley also issued the same order.
That means staying at home except for the most essential reasons. Officials said people would be allowed to leave the house for essential work, to go to a grocery store, pick up medication, or even walk the dog. But they urged everyone to practice social distancing while outside. “It is now time to do your part,” Dr. Scott Morrow, the San Mateo health officer, said in a statement.
“It’s asking people to go home with their families and to stay there until they are told otherwise,” said Mayor Joe Goethals of San Mateo, adding that only “essential” businesses like hospitals, grocery stores and pharmacies would remain open.
“I don’t expect anyone to get arrested,” said Mr. Goethals, who said people will still be allowed to go outside for limited activities, like buying food and getting fresh air. “But it’s not optional. This is mandatory for all of us.”
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States crossed the 4,000 mark on Monday, with more than 70 deaths, including the first deaths in Indiana, Nevada and South Carolina.
A growing number of cities and states have taken significant actions to slow the coronavirus, shutting down schools, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms. The restrictions stretched from the now-empty sidewalks of New York City, where officials had made the wrenching decision to shut down public schools, to the fields and urban centers of Ohio. Millions of Americans are now hunkered down at home for the foreseeable future.
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