Six Bay Area counties order residents to shelter at home amid coronavirus

UPDATE: Santa Cruz County has now issued an order for residents to shelter at home. San Benito County has not yet issued an order to shelter at home.

UPDATE: Santa Cruz County has now issued a shelter at home order for residents.

On March 16, public health officers in six Bay Area counties—Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara—issued a legal order directing residents to shelter at home for three weeks beginning March 17 in relation to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The city of Berkeley is included in the order, according to a recent release.

San Benito County has not yet issued an order to shelter at home. The County of San Benito and Public Health Services were not immediately available for comment.

According to the release, the order limits activity, travel and business functions in the affected counties to essential needs only. The order defines essential activities as necessary for the health and safety for individuals and their families. The release said that essential businesses allowed to operate during the recommended action 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.

“Temporarily changing our routine is absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this pandemic,” said Santa Clara County Public Health officer Dr. Sara Cody in the release. “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.”

For more information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at and visit the San Benito County Public Health Services website for updated local information at

Check back for updates.



BenitoLink Staff