The San Francisco Bay Area Shelter-in-place Order Is Being Extended Through May

San Francisco, CA – Later this week, the Public Health Officers of the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara as well as the City of Berkeley will issue revised shelter-in-place orders that largely keep the current restrictions in place and extend them through May. The new order will…



San Francisco, CA – Later this week, the Public Health Officers of the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara as well as the City of Berkeley will issue revised shelter-in-place orders that largely keep the current restrictions in place and extend them through May. The new order will include limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities.

The shelter-in-place orders in effect across the seven jurisdictions are set to expire on May 3, 2020.  Thanks to the collective effort and sacrifice of the 7 million residents across our jurisdictions, we have made substantial progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, ensuring our local hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, and saving lives.  At this stage of the pandemic, however, it is critical that our collective efforts continue so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved together. Hospitalizations have leveled, but more work is needed to safely re-open our communities. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases.

The Health Officers will also release a set of broad indicators that will be used to track progress in preparedness and response to COVID-19, in alignment with the framework being used by the State of California.  Future easing of restrictions requires that each jurisdiction and various sectors continue to rapidly build critical infrastructure and systems to respond to and control the spread of coronavirus infections and to ensure the health care system’s ability to meet demand.

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.  We expect to be responding to COVID-19 in our communities for a long time.  As effective as our efforts have been, if we move too fast to ease restrictions, the potential of exponential spread could have grave impacts to health and wellness of our residents as well as the economy.

The Health Officers of these seven jurisdictions have been working closely together in leading a unified, regional approach, to protect the health and safety of our residents. Details regarding this next phase will be shared later in the week, along with the updated order.


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  1. killion

    We are down 50% from the peak of Covid deaths in California. It seems likely we will have one or more days of zero Covid deaths before the end of May. That is the measure I assume they are going for at this point.


  2. j79

    I told my wife that I've come assumed shelter-in-place IS in place until a vaccine has been developed. Either that, or herd immunity is to a point where going outside isn't a game of Russian roulette.

  3. hombre_fatal

    I'm lucky enough to have remote work. And I'm sure many HNers have a nice buffer of savings from their tech jobs to weather the storm or are getting paid time off.

    But can anyone share what it's like to not be in either of these situations? How are your rent lords handling things?

    I live abroad in a cheap country so I can handle zero income, but I wouldn't be able to last long if rent was $2000+/mo instead of the <$200/mo I currently pay.

    Yet when I read Redditors talk about quarantine, you'd think everyone in the world was getting paid time off to play Animal Crossing at home or they live at mom's house rent-free. And it seems like it's this crowd that's likely to be pushing for staying in lockdown with no end in sight.

  4. marcell

    Blanket lockdown has to end.

    This policy has outlived its usefulness, and is harming people's quality of life without a clear goal.

    The initial premise of the "flatten the curve" memes was to avoid overwhelming hospitals. The shelter-in-place has not only had this effect, it's been too effective. Hospital utilization in the bay area is at around 10% when you count surge capacity that has been added [1].

    Meanwhile, data is coming out to show that coronavirus has a very low fatality risk to anyone under the age of 50, and to anyone without pre-existing health conditions. A blanket shutdown does not make any sense when the vulnerable demographic has been clearly identified. How is it moral to order people to shelter in place when their risk of death is around 0.01% for 18-45 year olds.

    Blanket lockdown doesn't make sense anymore. There is no risk posed to the majority of the population from covid-19. We need to switch to targeted approach, and let people get back to their lives.

    Our political leaders (in California) are being fearful, afraid to take leadership and base their decisions on data.


    [2] and

  5. microdrum

    Absurd. This is illogical. Expect this now to be challenged in court.

  6. killion

    I just noticed that it’s 75 days between March 17 and May 31. Wuhan’s lockdown was 76 days long.

  7. Uhhrrr

    San Francisco has only had 18 COVID-19 deaths in the last 30 days, and only 2 in the last week. [0] That seems amazingly low to me.

    I'm leaning towards thinking non-essential businesses should be opened up there, provided they function under the same restrictions as grocery stores etc.


  8. KorematsuFred

    This is absolute nuts. There is no data that is being provided for such heavy handed measures. Virus can kill but that does not mean we should hide indoors for foreseeable future.

  9. forrestthewoods

    Serious question: if restrictions aren’t lifted now then will they be? What will be meaningfully different June 1st rather than May 1st?

    Is it shelter-in-place until we get more testing? Or the AppleGoogle contact tracing? Or is it shelter-in-place until a vaccine… in 18 months?

    What are the conditions required to start slowly relaxing the shutdown?

    Edit: I don’t understand the downvotes. I haven’t left my home for two full months. I started preparing for the worst in early February. There are many options in between “full lockdown” and “fully open”. We won’t be in full lockdown for 18 months. So, what are the requirements to start slowly lifting.

  10. cs702

    If many people get very sick simultaneously, they would not only overwhelm hospitals, they would also inflict a disorderly, involuntary shutdown of large swaths of the economy, driven by fear — instead of the orderly, voluntary shutdown we have at present, driven by government mandate.

    We all want to avoid that.

  11. jkasdflklzxcv

    A word to the wise – we are keeping a blacklist of all the fascists on this site in favor of the illegal, unconstitutional "shelter-in-place" 'order'.

    The support you have voiced here will be long remembered.

    It is becoming painfully clear now this is only political.

    Open the Country Now!

    Lock Gavin Newsom Up!

  12. microdrum

    Why does he have the right to do this?

  13. nickysielicki

    Everyone in here is arguing about data and forgetting the context — we entered this whole mess in a country that has never been so divided. Of course that's relevant. Of course that doesn't go away. The only question that you have to ask is whether you're on Team Fauci or Team Trump.

    Why the hell would anyone ever expect the SF local government to ever find themselves on Team Trump, if given the option?

  14. greendave

    The problem is that the shelter-in-place rule is already limited in effectiveness due to a very lengthy list of exceptions plus many people not observing the spirit of the rule. Compliance will only drop over time as people see that 1) Their actions are having no obvious impact and 2) There is no clear end in sight.

    If the primary goal of extending the order is to give local governments time to build out infrastructure, that's fine (though they would do well to communicate this progress to the public). But if the primary goal is to further reduce transmission, I can't see it being successful.

  15. pjdemers

    Lockdowns are like rounds of layoffs. Better to have one too big than several too small.

  16. glofish

    When I was younger I could never understand why anyone would vote republican.

    Today I understand.

  17. walterbell

    People forget that there is no law which can put everyone under house arrest. This is all done voluntarily.

    Why is it ok for people to shop at Walmart and not at their local small business that sells the same goods and is better equipped to enforce social distancing, with customers explicitly opting in to visit the smaller store?

    If a small business can protect workers and customers, and a comparable large business is already open, the small business can consider opening and preparing to litigate all the way to the Supreme Court. With video cameras ready.

    There may be a few hundred bored lawyers who remember the US constitution and would take their case pro bono. The federal government recently said it is willing to join lawsuits against states, on constitutional grounds.

    Obviously, the business in question should be carefully chosen to maximize health, legal and business outcomes. But with many businesses shutdown, there's a large pool of candidates to be triaged.

  18. Lramseyer

    If I am reading the data correctly, considering total number of cases, and current rates of growth, the Bay Area is doing really well compared to the rest of the USA in terms of preventing the spread. [1] There will inevitably be areas that will recover sooner than others, and I could see the Bay Area being one of those places. How is the Bay Area going to handle that? Are these places going to station cops on county lines and screen people wanting to come into a "recovered" region?


  19. anm89

    The reddit hive mind has become terrifying. It has seriously had a tangible effect on my faith in humanity.

    I never got onto Twitter but I assume it's about the same.

  20. annoyingnoob

    Seems like we will need more Fed dollars flowing. Seems like recovery is going to be slow with more pain to come.

  21. 01100011

    I'm surprised we're not seeing plans for some businesses to reopen with restrictions. I think it will be a while before we allow haircuts and manicures again, but I see no reason why we can't increase the types of businesses allowed open. Limiting occupancy, requiring PPE, and enforcing social distancing appear to be reasonable requirements. I hope the politicians and government workers are busy trying to find a middle-ground and not just playing it safe to cover their asses.

  22. cavisne

    States should have let the feds make this decision. The states who hate the feds (california, washington, new york) are also the ones who have the trickiest political decision to make, as reopening in dense cities is always going to be a tradeoff.

    The states who like the feds (middle america, texas) have the easiest decision as their states aren't dense.

    Now Democrat politicians, who prefer to make intersectional, empathetic decisions have to make the toughest political choice imaginable.

  23. davidw

    There's a good quote cited often on Strong Towns: "problems have solutions, predicaments have outcomes".

    We're in a predicament. We blew weeks, maybe months ignoring the problem at the federal level, so now we don't have the PPE or testing and tracing infrastructure we could have had at this point that would allow some cautious, yet safe reopening in places. The stay home orders work, but they're devastating to the economy. Reopening in an unsafe way would be devastating to both the economy and public health: smart people are going to stay home anyway because they don't want to get sick and die.

    There are no 'good' options at this point. Something like this plan seems like the best bet, but we need to get supplies and infrastructure on line as quickly as possible, and understand that the federal government isn't likely to be of much help.

  24. lipbisque

    This is bizarre… There is a statewide stay-at-home order in effect until further notice. Any less-restrictive orders, such as San Francisco's, are null and void.

  25. mrfusion

    Anyone thinking of moving out?

  26. joyceschan

    If this continues until fall. I'd live somewhere else where the economy is open, and take all necessary precautions to protect others and myself.

  27. redis_mlc

    When you wanna run for the Whitehouse, you gotta play it safe.

  28. fasteddie31003

    I hate how the idea of reopening has split down political party lines. This is definitely not the time for partisanship. Now that Republicans have come out as pro-reopening, San Francisco will be the last city to reopen in the country. 0 COVID-19 infections will be too many.

  29. djdjfjfjfjfj

    I am going to kill myself if this goes on another day

  30. ccktlmazeltov

    Is this surprising? I'd expect the shelter-in-place to be extended until at least the end of the summer.

  31. Animats

    " The new order will include limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities."

    Wonder what the details are? Maybe we can get some parks re-opened.

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