Bay Area residents ordered to stay home, starting Tuesday | News | Mountain View Online |


Bay Area residents ordered to stay home, starting Tuesday

As coronavirus spreads, health officer says: 'This is the time to unite as a community'

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Residents of six Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara and San Mateo, are being ordered to stay at home for all but "essential reasons" for the next three weeks, as the cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.

The order, which starts at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, affects Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties and the city of Berkeley and is designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, public health officials said.

The order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs and defines essential activities as those necessary for the health and safety of individuals and their families. Residents will still be allowed to leave the house to pick up groceries or medication, but they are asked to stay at least 6 feet away from other people during these outings.

Essential businesses allowed to operate include health care operations; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals; fresh and non-perishable food retailers including convenience stores; pharmacies; child care facilities; gas stations; banks; laundry businesses and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence. In addition, health care, law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action. The complete list of essential services and businesses is listed in the order.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said that no shortage of food is anticipated.

"No one need fear that they need to go buy everything on the (grocery store) aisle," Liccardo said.

However, for those who are vulnerable or at-risk, San Jose is coordinating with other cities to set up food-distribution programs throughout Santa Clara County that will commence in the coming days. This could also involve businesses, such as DoorDash, to help with food distribution to vulnerable seniors and people in their homes. Schools are setting up their own food-distribution networks, he said.

“We must move aggressively. The time for half measures is over. History will not forgive us for waiting an hour longer,” he said.

Most businesses are required to cease activities beyond minimum basic operations. Public and private gatherings are prohibited and all travel is prohibited except what is essential. Mass transit remains open, but the public should use it only for essential travel and are required to maintain social distancing as much as possible.

"While the goal is to limit groups congregating together in a way that could further spread the

virus, it is not a complete social shutdown. You can still complete your most essential outings or even engage in outdoor activity, so long as you avoid close contact," Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s public health officer, said.

"You can even take your dog for a walk. We are not expecting empty streets," he said during a press conference at 1 p.m. in Santa Clara County. "Social distancing does not mean disconnection from each other."

Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County public health officer, said: "If I thought last Friday’s order was hard, this one is exponentially harder."

"Temporarily changing our routine is absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this pandemic," Cody said. "The health officers from the largest jurisdictions in the San Francisco Bay Area are united and we are taking this step together to offer the best protection to our respective communities."

Anyone who is ill with symptoms of the virus -- mainly fever, cough and shortness of breath -- needs to stay home, she added and to distance themselves from others in their household.

Homeless residents are exempt from the order, but local governments are encouraged to provide shelter for their homeless population, Cody said.

The guidance comes after substantial input from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and best practices from other health officials around the world, the officials added.

Scientific evidence shows social distancing is one of the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable disease. The shelter-at-home order follows new data of increasing local transmission of COVID-19, including 273 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4 deaths shared by the seven jurisdictions, as of 5 p.m. on March 15. The Bay Area’s collective confirmed cases are more than half of California’s case count, the officials said.

The number doesn’t account for rapidly increasing cases of community transmission, which are expected to grow significantly as testing for the virus expands. Testing capabilities for the virus are increasing though commercial laboratories and other sites, and as the number of people who are tested increases, the number of people who test positive for the infection is expected to rise dramatically, Cody said.

There should also be a greater percentage of people who test positive for the disease who are not hospitalized compared to those who are, she added.

The new, multiple-county legal order comes one day after Governor Gavin Newsom ordered older adults ages 65 and older to stay home. Persons most vulnerable to severe infection by the disease are ages 60 and older, those with chronic and underlying medical conditions and people experiencing homelessness.

Cody said the orders were crafted quickly with an eye to preserving essential social infrastructure. Santa Clara County is the epicenter of the outbreak, but because of the rapid increase in cases and number of hospitalizations, there became a need to act swiftly and regionally.

One of the reasons to slow the spread as quickly as possible is to protect health care workers from the virus so that the health care system won’t be overtaxed, she said.

The counties will post detailed FAQs on their websites to explain the order, Cody said. Liccardo said it will take time to work out details of enforcement of the order. It will be up to local officials to determine what constitutes "essential workers" in their community, a definition that will be much broader than police and fire and that is expected to include social workers, health care workers and utility employees.

Standing together - but six feet apart from each other - the health officers asked residents to unite as a community and to follow their advice.

"We are in a rough place," said Scott Morrow, San Mateo County health officer. "And we are going to have difficult times ahead of us.

"The measures we're putting in place are temporary but they will last longer than any of us want. This is the time to unite as a community, come to each other’s aid and dig really deep."

More information about COVID-19 is available on Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, or Berkeley COVID-19 websites.

A livestream of the announcement is archived at on the Facebook page of Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

This is a developing story. Check back here for details.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and Almanac here.

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4 people like this
Posted by judicial review
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2020 at 2:42 pm

how to enforce, ID please? Have you been drinking fluids or have a cough, turn around we will handcuff you now.

5 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:37 pm

This appears to be possibly going to make things worse.

After just 1 day of being coped up in your home whether you are alone or with others, this will raise significant distress.

There are known risks in this plan.

The possibility of increased occurrences of domestic problems is almost guaranteed.

And those with either emotional or mental issues will be at extreme risk of self harm.

This is an action simply because our health system simply cannot deal with this situation, it was designed for profit and not for actually being a "health-care" system.

I for example tried to get away from my place because I live alone, and when I went to Starbucks, they aren't even allowing people to sit in the place anymore.

This is going to cause even more economic damage, the fact is we have to probably implement a planed infection process so that we can "control" the impact with the least economic damage. Look what happened to the "market" today.

Placing everyone into in effect house arrest for a situation they didn't even cause is just going to frustrate people and when frustrated bad things can occur that would not be considered otherwise.

170 people like this
Posted by Correction
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2020 at 4:07 pm

"asked to stay within 6 feet of other people"

I believe you meant "at least 6 feet away from." As currently phrased it is the opposite of the official instructions.

(Also, isn't it past time to censor the obsessive crank commenter above ["The Business Man"] who can be relied upon to post wierd eccentric belabored commentaries on everything (followed by *interminable* defensive replies, read by no one else, to any criticism whatsoever)? The person is clearly troubled, and verbal diarrhea on the Town Square website is not useful therapy.

4 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 16, 2020 at 4:26 pm


What are people supposed to do if the order says:


That is in essence house arrest. All I am saying is this approach may be more dangerous than the alternatives.

I will not comment on anything else you wrote, it simply isn't on topic.

3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 16, 2020 at 6:34 pm

Gary, I agree with you in many ways but also have a disagreement.

I watched the movie Contagion in 2011 in the theaters, (which all of the REgal theaters are closed now). Ut scared the (BLANK) out of me. I got the Blue Ray Disc and its bonus features discussed the scientists that advised the movie, and scared me more.

I cannot argue Donald Trump having no governmental experience probably made the response worse.

But since we have a "Private" health care service system, we were always in trouble regarding this.

The American Healthcare system cannot actually take these risks into account because shareholders demand their dividends or share price growth.

This may be the event that might require the U.S. to transition back to a public healthcare model. Simply put the private system will not pay to ensure we have resources necessary for events like this.

I know I am one to talk, I am a big fan of good private industry, but the U.S. is proving that there are areas where it doesn't work. Healthcare appears to be a BIG one.

4 people like this
Posted by Trump fired the national pandemic team
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2020 at 6:44 pm

> That is in essence house arrest. All I am saying is this approach may be more dangerous than the alternatives.

Sure. Make up some numbers. After that, find one epidemiologist who agrees with you.

Just one nationally respected epidemiologist.

Good luck with that.


New thread, basic facts on why we are here: Trump fired the National Pandemic team three years ago. Trump/Pence refused the offer of millions of tests from the WHO in January.

77 people like this
Posted by Shopping
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 16, 2020 at 6:45 pm

Safeway and Lucky were packed today. No way you can keep 6’ away when navigating crowded aisles. Shouldn’t these stores limit the number of shoppers inside at one time? Some grocery stores in Massachusetts are setting up special hours just for shoppers over 70 years old. I hope there will be more rules and guidelines so we can all get through this in a safe, sane, and orderly way.

17 people like this
Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 16, 2020 at 7:13 pm

@ shopping: Zanotto has special senior hours, 8 to 9 am for 60 and over.
9 am regular opening time

3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 16, 2020 at 7:52 pm

In response to Trump fired the national pandemic team you said:

“Sure. Make up some numbers. After that, find one epidemiologist who agrees with you.

Just one nationally respected epidemiologist.

Good luck with that.”

I have no specific epidemiologists report J.F. Y .I. but the CDC does issue a report online found here (Web Link)

The CDC website discusses the issue of how dangerous the coronavirus has been reported and how large the risk is on the general population. That information is reported here:


The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report (from the New England Journal of Medicine found here (Web Link)) external icon out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.”

So it could be that as much as 75% of the people can be infected with this disease and apparently have no serious issues at all. BUT, I am not discounting the fact that if 330,000,000 people are exposed that as much as 82,500,000 people will be at risk. This still is enough to cause such a negative impact on all of us, whether it is either in health or economic damage.

I am not making any promises, I am still in mostly agreement with you, just making sure you have some more information to consider.

The one thing we need to do is work together, and we need to support each other as well. But isolation is the significant impairment of support for all of us. We need to share this event and isolation is not necessarily the best solution, but it is the only one we have right now it seems.

27 people like this
Posted by DaffyDuck
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2020 at 8:32 pm

Im waiting for someone start blaming the people living in RV's for bringing the coronavirus in the city.

13 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 16, 2020 at 9:15 pm

@ Daffy. That would be the DONALD Duck. Don't try to pass it off on some other member of the Duck family. Which brings us back to the problem. Young people will become infected, maybe get sick, maybe not, but then pass the virus to old people - killing them. The carriers could be young or not-as-young people, in or from schools, stores, RV's, restaurants, City Hall, cruise ships, homes, AB&Bs - while getting gas or grabbing a Voice from a newsstand. Meanwhile, the economy will tank and services will be disrupted. Nothing like Syria. But not Disneyland anymore.

37 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 17, 2020 at 1:09 am

How about that movie CONTAGION (2011) available now on Cable? I am watching. The virus went from a pig to a bat to humans. Interesting stuff. It is likely what's happening now. So far, the virus in the movie seems more deadly than Covid-19. When something bad is coming, some may yell DUCK. But few will listen.

9 people like this
Posted by Trump fired the national pandemic team
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2020 at 6:35 am

@business - you basically agree, but post a Doug-Moran-like word salad to conflate probable mental health issues with a model showing potentially millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Please do not do that.

Your valid point about mental health does not need false claims and comparisons to stand on it's own.

Also, re: DM, always remember brevity is king.... ;)


Folks: Note that Trump is CURRENTLY in court with a case to throw out ObamaCare. How's that for timing?

This goes along with: Trump fired the National Pandemic Team in 2018.

Trump/Pence both turned down millions of tests offered by the WHO in January.

And: 30 members of the Trump admin were part of the hand-over exercise from the Obama team, who did several simulations to train for a pandemic and other disasters, in January 2017. 20 of those 30 Trumpettes are now out of government.

Trump's Executive Malfeasance is all over this pandemic.

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