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San Francisco Orders 10-Day Quarantine for Anyone Traveling From Outside Bay Area

San Francisco Thursday announced a mandatory 10-day quarantine for anyone coming into the city from outside nine Bay Area counties, including Santa Cruz. The new public health order covers returning residents, visitors and people who are moving to or work in San Francisco, and who will remain in the city for at least 24 hours.

The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 18 and will remain in place until Jan. 4.

Those who are subject to the quarantine are required to remain at home “without physical interaction with others outside their household except in emergency or health care situations. They are not allowed to go to work, school, or any other venue outside their home for 10 days,” the city said.

COVID-19 Cases are surging in San Francisco and all over the Bay Area. The entire region will fall under the state’s strict stay-at-home order, separate from San Francisco’s newly announced quarantine, at midnight tonight due to a critical lack of ICU beds .

“Hospitals in the Bay Area are close to being overwhelmed,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “Now is not the time to travel and risk being exposed or exposing others. We need to do the right thing to protect ourselves, our neighbors and our loved ones and make sure that we can celebrate together when this is over.”

Exemptions to the policy include medical personnel, first responders, and those on official government business or engaged in essential infrastructure work. People who are traveling because of  medical appointments or due to a court-ordered requirement are also exempt, as are travelers passing through San Francisco International Airport but not staying overnight in the city.

For more informationl see the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Travel Order Explained web page.

—Jon Brooks


For a full list of exemptions visit

Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced a public health order that places a mandatory quarantine of 10 days on anyone traveling, moving, or returning to San Francisco from anywhere outside the Bay Area. Limited exceptions apply to people who are traveling for certain critical activities. The new order also strongly discourages any non-essential travel within the 10-county Bay Area region.

The travel quarantine order strongly discourages non-essential travel of any kind and within any distance, including from one location to another within the Bay Area. Additionally, it requires anyone who comes to San Francisco to quarantine for 10 days if they spent any time outside the following 9 Bay Area counties: San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Santa Cruz.

Individuals required to quarantine must remain home without physical interaction with others outside their household except in emergency or health care situations. They are not allowed to go to work, school, or any other venue outside their home for 10 days. For further assistance during quarantine, visit

The restriction on non-essential travel and the mandatory quarantine is necessary due to rapid and widespread COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations that threaten our region’s ability to provide intensive care for critically ill patients. As of Wednesday, December 16ththe Bay Area’s ICU capacity had fallen below 15% and triggered the State of California’s Regional Stay Home order. Infection rates outside the Bay Area continue to be Travel outside the Bay Area increases an individual’s chance of getting infected and spreading the virus to others upon their return , especially since the nature of travel usually includes interactions with many people. To protect San Franciscans, this health order seeks to quarantine those who are at risk of being infected due to their travels so that they cannot spread COVID-19 to others in the community.

“This virus spreads through human interaction and social gatherings, including through people with no symptoms. We need to take steps now to control the spread of the virus and save lives,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health, City and County of San Francisco. “Quarantining people who have traveled and been in contact with others is one way to help manage the spread of COVID-19.”

The travel order becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on December 18, 2020 and will remain in effect until 12:01 a.m. on January 4, 2021 and may be extended as necessary if the surge continues. For the full health order and answers to frequently asked questions about the health order, visit For information on celebrating the holidays safely at home, visit

Copyright 2020 KQED