Officials in six San Francisco Bay Area counties issued a sweeping shelter-in-place mandate Monday affecting nearly 7 million people, ordering residents to avoid any unnecessary travel by any method and only leave their homes for food, medicine, and exercise. The order says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday in a desperate attempt by officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the AP reports. “I know today’s order is a radical step. It has to be. We need to act now, all of us, to protect the public health," said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. It affects the counties of San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, and Contra Costa, as well as the city of Berkeley.
“We must move aggressively and immediately," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, whose city is the epicenter of Bay Area outbreak. “History will not forgive us for waiting an hour more." The order tells people to work from home unless they provide essential services such as public safety, sanitation, and medical services. Pharmacies and banks will remain open. Restaurants will be open only for take-out, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said. The move comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday recommended any state resident 65 and older isolate themselves at home and ordered all bars and similar businesses to close, and after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on the same day ordered gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and arcades to close and restaurants to only remain open for pickup, delivery, and drive-through. Other cities and states are issuing similar orders and recommendations, but the San Francisco Chronicle says the Bay Area's mandate is "the strictest measure of its kind" in place anywhere in the country.
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