San Mateo County health officer issues legal order prohibiting gatherings of 250 or more

Bay Area shelter-in-place orders to be extended through May

in Community/Featured/Headline

Warning that the COVID-19 pandemic “is still in its early stages” and that premature lifting of restrictions “could easily lead to a large surge in cases,” Bay Area public health officers announced Monday they intend to extend the shelter-in-place health order through May, largely keeping current restrictions. The current shelter-in-place order is set to end May 3.

Set to be released later this week, the extended shelter-in-place orders will include “limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities,” according to a joint statement by the public health officers of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Francisco counties and the City of Berkeley. Health officers will also release a set of broad indicators aligned with the state’s guidelines to determine future easing of restrictions.

“Future easing of restrictions requires that each jurisdiction and various sectors continue to rapidly build critical infrastructure and systems to respond to and control the spread of coronavirus infections and to ensure the health care system’s ability to meet demand,” the public health officers said.

Public health officers said they expect to be responding to COVID-19 for “a long time.”

“This global pandemic of COVID-19 is still in its early stages,” according to the statement. “The virus spreads easily, testing capacity is limited and expanding slowly, and vaccine development is just beginning….As effective as our efforts have been, if we move too fast to ease restrictions, the potential of exponential spread could have grave impacts to health and wellness of our residents as well as the economy.”