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Coronavirus Update: 8 Bay Area Counties on Lockdown Amid Coronavirus Spread

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Wednesday, 3/18/20: Piece has been updated to include more counties that have issued “shelter-in-place” orders.

To combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has proliferated rapidly to nations around the globe, six San Francisco-area counties will issue a “shelter-in-place” order beginning Tuesday, March 17. The counties are San Francisco, Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo.

Monterey County and Sonoma County both issued “shelter-in-place” midnight on Wednesday, The order is to stay in place until April 7, unless authorities decide to shorten or lengthen it. Sacramento County, along with Yolo County community of Davis and San Joaquin County community of Manteca, are advising residents to stay; while this is not a legal order, it is a strong directive.

Under this order, businesses are to close their offices, and their employees are to stay home and work from there, if possible. Among companies affected is Smart Meetings, which is based in Marin County.

“While we have entered a time of uncharted waters, not only in the meetings industry, but in the world as a whole, I want to assure you Smart Meetings is sailing steady to keep your business thriving,” said CEO and founder Marin Bright in a statement to planners. “We’ve chosen to remain open and operational by working remotely to provide you the best content, resources, and events, so you can stay successful and on top of your game now and for the future. Our team is actively monitoring health advisories closely to keep you safe and healthy, which is our No. 1 priority. We encourage you to check our website regularly.”

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Under the order, “nonessential” establishments, such as restaurants, retail shops, bars and gyms, will temporarily close. Residents will still be able to frequent grocery stores, gas stations, laundromats, banks and pharmacies. Government services, including police, fire, health care and transit will remain open.

Bay Area residents will be allowed to venture outside on foot to walk, exercise or take their pets out, while maintaining six feet away from anyone not a member of their household.

Nonessential travel will be prohibited under the new order, which means people who leave for vacation between Tuesday and April 7 will be considered out of compliance with the order, said Dr. Grant Colfax, head of San Francisco Department of Public Health. Homeless people are not subject to the order, but they are encouraged to seek shelter.

“We are in unprecedented times,” an official statement announcing the order said. “We know that people are hurting, financially and otherwise. This short-term pain will help us avoid much more severe long-term consequences.”

As of Sunday, there have been 258 confirmed cases of the virus in the area. On Monday morning, the number of confirmed cases in San Francisco reached 40, but few have been tested for the virus. The first confirmed case hit the city March 5. With 138 confirmed cases—an increase of 24 overnight—Santa Clara County has been hit with the most cases in northern California.

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