The public health officers from six counties across the Bay Area have ordered people to stay home except for essential needs starting today.

The restrictions, announced Monday, apply until April 7 in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties. Santa Cruz County and the city of Berkeley are also requiring residents to shelter in place. 

Some “essential” businesses will remain open. People can leave their homes to buy groceries or takeout meals, get medical care, pick up prescriptions from pharmacies, visit the bank, fill up at the gas station and take care of other specific needs listed in the order. When they do go out, people are supposed to stay at least six feet away from anyone they don't live with. 

Government services will continue, including garbage and sanitation work, utilities, jails and courts. Police and firefighters will remain on duty. Several other categories of work are also exempt.

(Read the full order, including the list of exemptions in Section 10.)

Unlike guidelines issued at the state level in the past week, the “shelter in place” order in these seven counties is mandatory. Disobeying is a misdemeanor crime.

At last count, the group of counties now sheltering in place had a combined total of 313 confirmed cases and five deaths from COVID-19, up from 258 cases and four deaths as of Sunday morning.

San Joaquin County has not issued similar orders. As of Monday, Public Health Services had confirmed 13 cases of COVID-19 within the county. No details about the patients have been released, including their ages or the cities where they live.

Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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