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5 Bay Area Counties Implement Strict New Stay-at-Home Order Ahead of Schedule

Public health officials from five Bay Area counties are moving faster than the state requires to impose stay-at-home orders that they hope will contain the surging coronavirus.

The counties of San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin, plus the city of Berkeley, have issued a new health order that will shut many indoor businesses, require others to reduce capacity to 20%, and close indoor and outdoor dining except for takeout and delivery. The orders in all the counties except Alameda and Marin take effect Dec. 6. Alameda’s order goes into effect on Dec. 7, and Marin’s Dec. 8.

The restrictions will remain in force until Jan. 4, 2021.

Bars, museums and personal care services such as nail and hair salons are among the businesses that will have to suspend services altogether. Also required to shut down are movie theaters, playgrounds and museums. Hotels and lodging will operate only for critical infrastructure support. Religious services will only be permitted outdoors.

In addition, the order prohibits gatherings between people from different households.

The state’s threshold for the mandatory imposition of these restrictions is an 85% occupancy rate for ICU beds in hospitals for an entire region. The Bay Area as a whole has not yet risen above that level, but Contra Costa County’s health officer, Dr. Chris Farnitano, says the counties had to act to prevent hospitals and ICUs from becoming overwhelmed.

Read the full story here.

—Raquel Maria Dillon (@RaquelMDillon)

Copyright 2020 KQED