- The shelter-in-place order in San Francisco could be extended past its current April 7 deadline, city Mayor London Breed told Business Insider.
- San Francisco and other area counties in the area imposed the order, which generally requires residents to stay at home unless they provide or are seeking essential goods and services, on Tuesday.
- The duration of the order will depend in part on how well residents comply with it, Breed said.
- Thus far, compliance has been somewhat spotty, but San Francisco officials are focusing on educating people about it rather than strict enforcement, she said.
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San Francisco and other nearby counties may extend their shelter-in-place orders, put in place to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, beyond their now scheduled end date of April 7, city Mayor London Breed told Business Insider.
San Francisco county health officials are studying data on the outbreak to determine how long to maintain the shelter-in-place order, which the region initiated Tuesday morning, Breed said in an interview Thursday. No decision has yet been made about whether to extend the duration of the order, Breed said, but she left open the possibility.
“This is an evolving situation. Things are changing constantly,” she said. “And I think that as things change, we need to be prepared to make adjustments.”
The number of COVID-19 cases has been rapidly expanding in the region, reaching 70 in San Francisco on Thursday and hundreds more throughout the Bay Area. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has warned that the state’s schools, nearly all of which were closed in recent weeks to prevent the spread of the virus, likely won’t reopen this school year. Meanwhile, federal officials are reportedly preparing for the pandemic to last as long as 18 months and to hit in waves.
Under the shelter-in-place orders, which are in place in 10 areas in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, residents are generally required to stay at home unless they perform essential services, such as health care or food distribution, or are heading out to acquire things such as groceries or prescriptions. The duration of the orders will depend in part on how well and how thoroughly residents abide by them, Breed said.
“The sooner we comply, the sooner that we can get through this,” she said. “I know it’s hard,” she continued, “but it’s necessary.”
To date, compliance has been somewhat spotty. Some stores, such as some GameStop locations, that wouldn’t appear to qualify as essential, reportedly remain open. In some residential areas of the Bay Area, lawn keepers were out cutting grass as normal. And joggers were reportedly out in force on San Francisco’s Embarcadero and other places.
But for the most part, people in the city seem to be complying with the order, Breed said. Instead of penalizing people and businesses that don’t, the city is focusing on educating residents, particularly those for whom English is not their first language, about the shelter-in-place mandate and the importance of it, she said. At the same time, the city is making allowances for people to get out and get exercise, which is permitted under the order, she said.
The city found out that a nail salon was open, despite the order. Instead of being heavy-handed and ordering it closed, city officials called the salon, informed the people there about the situation, and they closed it up, Breed said.
“Part of what we want to do is we want to at least give ourselves time to communicate with people in a respectful way,” she said.
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