Coronavirus: SF area jurisdictions will implement California’s stay-at-home order early

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SAN FRANCISCO — Health officials in six San Francisco area jurisdictions announced Friday that they will implement California’s new regional stay-at-home order early.

During a joint news conference, health officers from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties, along with the city of Berkeley, said they were not going to wait until local hospitals reach crisis levels before acting, KNTV reported.

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Most of the jurisdictions will enact the order Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Alameda County will put the order in on Monday, and Marin County will follow suit on Tuesday, the newspaper reported. The order will remain in effect until Jan. 4.

The move comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans for a stay-at-home order on Thursday, based on ICU capacity at state hospitals, KGO-TV reported.

The measure will close outdoor and indoor dining, personal care services such as hair and nail salons, playgrounds, bars and wineries, movie theaters, museums and zoos, the Chronicle reported. Retail, grocery stores and other businesses will remain open, but capacity will be limited to 20%. Restaurants will be limited to takeout orders.

“The dark COVID winter we feared would come has arrived in the Bay Area,” Contra Costa County Health Officer Chris Farnitano said the news conference. “I and other health officers don’t think we can wait for the state’s new restrictions to go into effect later this month. We must act swiftly to save as many lives as we can. This is an emergency.”

The Bay Area region is currently above the 15% intensive care unit hospital bed threshold that triggers the state-mandated stay-at-home order, according to the Chronicle. But in Santa Clara County, only 14% of ICU beds are available, according to county data.

San Francisco has 26% of ICU beds available, the newspaper reported. Health officials said if the current trajectory of case increases continues, the city would start running out of ICU beds on Dec. 26.

“We do not take these actions lightly,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Friday. “I know the impact that they have on local businesses, employees, and all of our residents, especially without the federal support that we need. But we can’t afford to wait and delay the inevitable.”

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