California's Bay Area Faces 'Shelter In Place' Lockdown Order Lasting At Least Two Weeks

Public health officials have placed six Bay Area counties under a two-week shelter-in-place directive on Monday as an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. According to The Los Angeles Times, San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals said that the order will be issued Monday afternoon around 1 p.m. and that residents in San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties will be directed to stay home. Most businesses will be asked to close their doors.

The city of Berkley -- which has its own public health authority -- will also be affected by the shelter-in-place directive, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Shelter-in-place is a public safety term that is used to urge people to take shelter and stay indoors where they are.

The only organizations that will remain open during the shelter-in-place directive will be police and fire departments, grocery stores, hospitals, and pharmacies. Residents in the six counties will still be able to go to the grocery store but Goethals urges them not to panic-buy since the stores will still be fully stocked.

Grocery store
Getty Images | Anthony Kwan

Goethals said that the shelter-in-place order is perhaps the most restrictive public health directive to be put in place in America thus far as the country attempts to "flatten the curve" and reduce the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S.

The Bay Area has been a hot spot of coronavirus cases, with more than 200 cases reported in the region and 114 cases and two deaths reported in Santa Clara County alone. San Mateo County has reported 42 cases, while San Francisco county has reported 40, Contra Costa 30, and Alameda County has reported 18 cases.

"Staying home is the best thing we can do right now," said Goethals, adding how important it was for the 110,000 residents of San Mateo, and neighboring cities like Burlingame and Foster City, to limit their social interactions to reduce the spread of the virus. He added that he has not heard of anyone taking the coronavirus more seriously, but added that he hoped "it's not too late."

The shelter-in-place directive comes amid much change for Bay Area residents. On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom called for the closing of bars, nightclubs, and the limiting of restaurant services. He also requested that elderly Bay Area residents stay home and self-isolate. Last week, the governor requested a state-wide ban on events with more than 250 people. Additionally, schools in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties have closed. Many are planning to attempt online schooling.