Five Bay Area counties announced on Friday that they would impose a stay-at-home order as early as Sunday evening, saying hospitals were already so overcrowded it was time to act now, rather than wait. that the region crosses a threshold for a regional order.
It would be too late to act if the intensive care units in the Bay Area, as a region, waited to drop to just 15% of capacity, which is the state threshold to implement an order. to stay at home, officials said.
Orders go into effect Sunday in San Francisco, Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties; in Alameda County on Monday and Marin County on Tuesday. The other four counties in the Bay Area – San Mateo, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties – are not part of the joint action.
“Waiting until only 15% of an area’s intensive care beds are available is just too late,” said Dr Tomás Aragon, head of health in San Francisco. “Many heavily affected areas in our region already have less than 15% of critical care beds available, and the time to act is now.”
“We can’t wait until we get off the cliff to pull the emergency brake,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County health official. “We understand that the closures … will have a profound impact on our local businesses. However, if we act quickly, we can both save lives and reduce the time these restrictions have to stay in place, allowing businesses and operations to reopen sooner. ”
Santa Clara County could run out of its normal supply of beds for ICU staff within a week, San Francisco health director Dr Grant Colfax told a briefing. “This surge is so much more serious than what we’ve seen before,” Colfax said.
“We are in our worst COVID-19 outbreak to date,” Colfax said. “This is straining the health care systems in the state of California and imposing a tax on our health care workers.
He said immediate “urgent intervention” was needed to ensure the availability of hospital rooms between mid-December and the end of December. “We don’t want your parents, spouse, child, grandparents or a loved one to need help and our hospitals to be too overwhelmed to care for them properly,” Colfax said.
The city of Berkeley, which has its own independent public health department separate from Alameda County, will also join the order.
Bay Area counties participating in the Stay-at-Home Order will implement the State’s Regional-Home Stay Order sooner, shutting down many non-essential businesses except all retail stores, which will be capped at 20% of their capacity.
Here’s what ends under the command:
- Dinner at the outdoor restaurant
- Hair salons, hair salons, nail salons and other personal care services
- Outdoor gambling halls, satellite betting and casinos
- Open-air museums, zoos and aquariums
- Open air cinemas
- Open-air vineyards
- Overnight stays in campsites
- Sale of food, drink or alcohol at outdoor recreational facilities
Retail would remain open, but with more limited capacity
All retail stores would be allowed to remain open under this order, albeit at reduced capacity. Counties can have stricter rules than state ones.
- Most of the Bay Area: Under state rules that apply unless superseded by stricter local rules, essential retail businesses, like supermarkets and pharmacies, have been allowed to open at 50% capacity ; non-core retail, like other stores and malls, opened at 25% capacity. The new order would lower the capacity of all retail businesses to 20%.
- Santa Clara County: The stricter local limit for non-essential retail (10%) will be lowered to 20% to comply with the state framework. Core retail capacity would drop from 25% to 20%.
Travel and use of hotels and accommodation for tourism and leisure purposes prohibited
The new regional stay-at-home order again prohibits the use of the hotel for tourism, recreation and other non-essential reasons, such as non-essential travel, be it vacation or a road trip for see family or friends.
Specifically, it allows accommodation and lodging for essential reasons only, defined as “critical infrastructure sectors», Including workers in health care, food, agriculture, energy, utilities, transportation, communications, government operations, manufacturing, financial services and entertainment industry.
The order would ban non-essential travel.
What remains open
- Entertainment production
- Professional sports without live audiences, except for Santa Clara County. He has his own ordinance banning contact sports, which forced the San Francisco 49ers to temporarily move their team to Arizona for its home games in December.
- Schools that are already open for in-person learning can remain open
- Outdoor areas like beaches, parks, and hiking trails
- Medical offices, dentists’ offices
- Childcare and pre-kindergarten
- Take-out restaurants and delivery service
- Critical infrastructure sectors