Order Extends Shelter in Place through May 31st

Candace Anderson, Contra Costa County Supervisor District 2

New Order Eases Current Restrictions on Some Business and Recreational Activities

Summary of New Health Officer Shelter in Place Order

The seven Bay Area Public Health Officers who ordered a shelter in place in mid-March will extend the orders through May 31 while some restrictions are eased and tools to strengthen containment of COVID-19 are put into place. 

All construction activities, certain businesses that operate primarily outdoors, and some outdoor activities will be allowed to resume with specific conditions.

These new Health Officer Shelter in Place orders, which takes effect May 4, 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.

This next phase reflects regional progress, thanks to the collective action Bay Area residents have taken since mid-March in response to Health Officer shelter-in-place orders. Those actions have saved lives and staved off mass hospitalizations from the COVID-19 virus, which spreads easily and causes severe illness in many people. 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 overwhelm hospitals for a particular jurisdiction or the region as a whole. 

Under the new orders, all construction projects will be allowed to resume as long as 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.

Other activities that can resume under the new shelter in place 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 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 of their contacts, isolating those who test positive and quarantining the people who may have been exposed. 

What Changes Does This New Order Make?

Note – Please refer to the FAQ’s for descriptions about what is now allowed. The FAQ’s are a searchable document and are being continually updated.See the FAQ’s Here.

This updated Order continues to restrict most activity to essential functions and needs. But because of progress we have collectively achieved in slowing the spread of the disease and limiting hospitalizations, the Order allows certain additional essential businesses and activities to resume, allows certain low-risk outdoor businesses to being operating again, and authorizes certain additional outdoor activities to take place even though they are not essential. The new Order also introduces a framework to guide the Health Officer’s decisions about further easing of restrictions, focusing on progress achieved addressing COVID-19 and ensuring that there are adequate health care resources available. 

This new Order replaces the shelter order issued on March 31, 2020. the March 31 order is the “Prior Order” and the April 29 Order as the “new Order” or “Order.” 

This new Order will go into effect on 11:59 pm on Sunday May 3, 2020, and will remain in effect until 11:59 pm on Sunday May 31, 2020, unless the Health Officer amends or extends it. 

Most of the Prior Order’s restrictions remain in place. However, the new Order makes a number of significant changes, which are highlighted below: 

Essential Businesses: 

  • Under the new Order, all construction projects can resume, provided they comply with the Construction Project Safety Protocols issued as part of the Order. (These protocols replace the COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guidelines applicable to the Prior Order). 
  • Commercial as well as residential real estate transactions are allowed to fully resume, but with continued restrictions on in-person viewings and appointments. 
  • Under the new Order, childcare establishments, summer camps, schools, and other educational and recreational programs can operate to provide care and supervision for children to allow all persons who are working in essential businesses or outdoor businesses or performing minimum basic operations to access childcare. All of these operations must comply with restrictions specified in the Order, including that they be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children. This category is also subject to the State’s Shelter in Place Order, but the Health Officer will assess whether to ease childcare restrictions further in coordination with the State and as the spread of COVID-19 is further contained. 

Outdoor Businesses: 

  • Outdoor Businesses (as defined in the Order and described below) are now allowed to operate, and people are allowed to visit them to perform work or to obtain goods, services, or supplies. 
  • Outdoor Businesses are those that normally operated primarily outdoors prior to the Shelter in Place Orders, and where social distancing of at least six feet can be maintained between all people. These include outdoor retail businesses like nurseries, outdoor service providers like landscapers, and agricultural operations. 

Social Distancing Protocols for Businesses: 

  • All business facilities operating in the County, including businesses carrying out minimum basic operations, must comply with the requirement to create a Social Distancing Protocol. (Note: construction activities must instead comply with the Construction Project Safety Protocols.) 
  • In their Social Distancing Protocols, businesses must now ensure that personnel and customers wear face coverings when entering their facilities (except those customers for whom face coverings are not recommended, like very young children). 
  • All existing Social Distancing Protocols must be updated to reflect the new requirements. 
  • We encourage businesses that are not yet allowed to operate to focus on planning to effectively implement social distancing and related measures in their facilities so they are ready to safely reopen when allowed. 

Essential Activities and Travel

  • All residential moves are now allowed to proceed. 

Recreation: 

  • The new Order allows use of shared outdoor recreational facilities that do not encourage gathering or contain high-touch equipment.

COVID-19 Indicators 

The Health Officer will consider easing or expanding restrictions based on progress we collectively achieve on several key indicators described in the new Order and referred to as the COVID-19 Indicators. 

Read the full order and accompanying documents here:

For the most up to date information on COVID-19 in Contra Costa County, visit coronavirus.cchealth.org. FAQ’s about the Health Officer order can be found here www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/frequently-asked-questions

County Health Services COVID-19 Call Center: 844-729-8410