Extended Bay Area stay-at-home order has new restrictions

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The stay-at-home order impacting six Bay Area counties, including San Mateo County, has been extended until May 3 and includes new restrictions aiming to limit the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the overwhelming of local hospitals.

Effective tonight at midnight, the updated order prohibits the use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas and similar recreational areas; bans the use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools and rock walls; and requires sports where people share equipment, such as a ball, be limited to people in the same household.

The new order, in full here. prohibits most residential and commercial construction, limits funeral attendance to no more than 10 people, and requires businesses that are deemed “essential” to have social distancing protocols in place by April 3.

The description, “essential businesses,” has been expanded to include those involved in residential transactions (notaries, title companies, Realtors, etc.), funeral homes and cemeteries, moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities, according to the health order. Essential businesses also must scale down operations to essential components only.

Essential businesses, per the order, still allow operations of healthcare facilities, along with those operating and maintaining essential infrastructure, grocery stores, certified farmers markets, and others selling unprepared food. Farming, livestock and fishing for food cultivation is also essential, along with gas stations, auto and bicycle repair and supply shops, hardware stores, mailing and shipping services and businesses providing shelter and necessary social services to underprivileged individuals.

Childcare facilities may only provide care to children or dependents of individuals working for essential businesses, providing essential governmental functions, or performing minimum basic operations for non-essential businesses, according to the order.

Landscaping and gardening for cosmetic or general upkeep is prohibited. Landscapers and similar service professionals “may only provide services necessary to maintain the sanitation, habitability, or operation of residences or businesses, or for safety reasons,” according to the new guidelines.

The order also restricts people from moving unless it is not possible to wait until the health order expires, or if the move was already planned.

Violating the health order “can be enforced by law enforcement and also through civil remedies,” the order states.

“Failure to comply with the requirements is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both,” according to the order. “The County may take appropriate actions to stop businesses from violating the Ordinance, including obtaining a temporary restraining order and pulling an applicable permit or revoking an applicable license.”

For more detailed information on the new order, visit here.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the six most populous Bay Area counties increased from 258 to 2,092 between March 15 and March 29, according to health officials. As of Tuesday, there were 309 confirmed cases and 10 deaths within San Mateo County.