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Bay Area residents ordered to stay home

Original post made on Mar 16, 2020

Residents of six Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara and San Mateo, are being ordered to stay at home through April 3 as the cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, Public Health officials are expected to announce.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 16, 2020, 12:43 PM

Comments (57)

Posted by have house guest
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 16, 2020 at 1:21 pm

Is passenger air travel restricted?

Posted by Frustrated mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 16, 2020 at 1:34 pm

How am I supposed to pay my rent and by food to stay alive? I work as a bartender and and have no job as las week?

Posted by MPFamily
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 16, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Does anyone know whether families that are currently travelling but expecting to come home later this week will be impacted? I assume we will be able to return to our home(s)?

Posted by James Felix Cook
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 16, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Will we be allowed to walk dogs and go to parks?

Posted by Midtown Local
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2020 at 1:49 pm

James: This article explicitly says that walking dogs is ok.

An article in the Chron says "People in the six counties will still be able to go shopping for items such as food and household supplies, and seek medical care. They will be able to go outside for walks or exercise as long as they keep six feet away from anyone they don’t already live with."

Posted by Jay
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 16, 2020 at 1:53 pm

We are compounding our problems by acting hysterical and irrational. This is the plague, this response by the people will do more harm to our livelihoods than any virus like this Coronavirus.

Posted by Amy Y
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2020 at 2:01 pm

@Frustrated mom: I think the state of California will make an announcement about the tenants who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis. So you don't need to worry about that. For food, you can get assistance from For your other expenses, try to apply here: Web Link Also call your county officers.

Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 16, 2020 at 2:03 pm

Frustrated mom

Sorry for your situation.

Just a idea, I'm trying to be helpful. Start working at a grocery store until things change. Ask your landlord for help and apply for relief from the government.

Posted by Dale
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2020 at 2:07 pm

"Frustrated mom" I'm so sorry for your situation :( it sounds rough
It's my understanding that unemployment applications and benefits have been expanded in response to mass job loss. If you start running out of food, I highly suggest using Nextdoor to ask neighbors for donations. Same goes for elderly and vulnerable who can not leave home. There are a lot of people who want to help, just ask :)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2020 at 2:15 pm

As at lunch time today, Midtown Safeway was very busy, many aisles devoid of food and other essentials, but strangely enough shopping carts were overloaded.

Posted by Teddie
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 16, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Does anybody know how this impacts landscape contractors, or landscape gardening services who work outdoors. Will those workers be forced to stop working? I am sure enforcement will be difficult.

Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 16, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Please fix error in this article that says "... they are asked to stay within six feet of other people during these outings." At least the SF order allows for the exempted activities like getting medicine, food, and exercise "provided that you maintain at least six feet of social distancing."

Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 16, 2020 at 2:57 pm

You can read the actual order for Santa Clara county here:

Web Link

Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:11 pm

> but they are asked to stay within 6 feet of other people

Is your proof-reader maintaining social distancing from your articles? ;-)

No, that is not what they are asking, this is phrased exactly wrong.

They are asking people when they are out to stay at least 6 feet away from other people,
and maintain "social distancing".

Posted by Wandering Worried Minds
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:13 pm

In this uncertain time there are many distracted drivers. While running this afternoon I witnessed two fender benders and was almost hit by a car I thought I made eye contact with. Be safe while behind the wheel- focus on the task at hand and be extremely cautious while outside walking or riding your bike. We are an amazing community! We can rise to this unfortunate situation in order to save the lives of our fellow citizens and medical workers. Stay home, touch base with your elderly and immune compromised neighbors regularly (you can slide a note with your contact info under their door), and stay healthy.

Posted by Mail?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:16 pm

Does anyone know about mail delivery? Will that continue? Maybe the weekly can find out and let us know

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Mail delivery is considered an essential service and will continue. The official government order encourages you to have medicine and other essentials delivered by mail instead of you traveling to the store.

Posted by Jobs
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:40 pm

@frustratedmom, just saw an article that Safeway has 2000 jobs open to help with the increased demand in thenstores

Posted by CSW
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:46 pm

@FrustratedMom, and anyone else who is now not able to work because of COVID-19 shutdowns: You can apply for unemployment benefits. The one week waiting period has been waived. General information is here: Web Link The specific page for filing a claim is here: Web Link

Posted by Elissa
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Please please allow the farmers markets to continue to stay open. The farmers need our support and we need their produce meat and dairy and products. Shoppers are self-spacing in payment lines. Vendors are wearing gloves and not touching produce once handled by customers. No free fruit samples. Outdoor markets are much less likely to be a vector than grocery stores. Some outdoor markets like CSM and Campbell have been closed, which makes no sense. The best way to avoid infection is by staying healthy. If anything, there should be more weekly outdoor markets, as they are obviously less contaminated than a grocery store. You bring your own tote bags. I am counting on you!

Posted by Malcolm
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 16, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Can I walk outside hand in hand with my wife? The Santa Clara County order suggests not. We are not maintaining social distances inside our home, and there doesn't appear to be any recommendation to do so.

Posted by Jobs
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2020 at 4:07 pm

Just saw this on Ron Owens page, answers a lot of above questions
Click the link in the picture at the bottom of this list for a complete rundown from of how the Bay Area shelter in place order will affect you. Below is a list of the businesses that will be allowed to remain open:

Essential services like health care operations and infrastructure
Pharmacies, grocery stores, certified farmers' markets, convenience stores, food banks and the like.
Businesses that provide food, shelter and social services
Gas stations and auto repair shops
Hardware stores
Banks and financial institutions
Plumbers, electricians and exterminators
Businesses that provide mailing and shipping services, including the post office
Educational institutions, as long as social distancing is practiced. Many school districts and institutions of higher learning have already canceled school, however.
Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry services
Restaurants but only for delivery or take-out
Businesses that "supply products needed for people to work from home"; businesses that "supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate"; businesses that ship or deliver groceries and food
Airlines, taxis or private transportation for essential activities
Home-based care for seniors, adults or children
Residential facilities and shelters
Professional services such as legal and accounting services
Child care facilities
Newspapers, television, radio and other media

In additional, key government services will continue as before, like police, fire and garbage pick-ups.

Posted by PAPD
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2020 at 4:35 pm

Will PAPD be out enforcing anyone out walking to make sure they are just dogwalking and nothing else?

Posted by Vasche LaMou
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 16, 2020 at 4:45 pm

"they are asked to stay within 6 feet of other people during these outings."

Shouldn't that read "they are asked to STAY AT LEAST 6 FEET AWAY from other people during these outings."? [caps for highlighting, not shouting]

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2020 at 4:55 pm

Airline passenger travel and passenger rail should be shut down.

Packing people into a poorly ventilated confined space and then moving them around from one place to another is a very efficient way to spread any infectious agent.

The cities of San Francisco and San Jose should shut down their airports to all but the very most essential travel and freight.

Posted by Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Mar 16, 2020 at 5:32 pm

Sorry for the error, @Jonathan Brown. It's been fixed.

Posted by Wand3r3r
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 16, 2020 at 6:23 pm

I have no actual evidence of this, just anecdotal, but I heard that Costco is also trying to hire people – along with Safeway. As for Safeway, the article I read said applicants can go directly to the store and hand in an application to the manager. Seems like the quickest way to get it done to me. We have four of them close by: two in Menlo Park, one in Midtown, and one at San Antonio and ECR.

Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 16, 2020 at 6:36 pm

I've read the order, and while it specifically mentions jogging as something that IS allowed, it's unclear if you can drive to, say, an OSP for exercise/a trail run. I'm thinking you can, but I guess we'll have to find out.

Posted by Lisa D
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2020 at 7:03 pm

There has been no chemical spill or tornado or hurricane, nor is there an active shooter. Stop saying shelter in place - that phrase just makes people behave strangely. We have to practice a low contact lifestyle while living in a high density place. That means changes. We can leave the house, we can get all the practical things done. Just keep distance from most people. We can go to the grocery store to get our stuff. We can get take-out food from restaurants. We can do the necessary trips to the gas station, the doctor, the dentist... We are not sheltering in place, we are avoiding disease transmission by not being around so many people - we are avoiding unnecessary human contacts.
Web Link

Posted by sheltering in place
a resident of Escondido School
on Mar 16, 2020 at 7:12 pm

Can I leave home to exercise?
If you will be both outdoors and not in close contact with other people, yes. Otherwise, no. Fitness and exercise gyms are not permitted to operate.

Q: I become anxious when cooped up in my house. Am I allowed to go to a park or on a hike? Can I travel to a County park or open space?
Answer: Yes. Spending time outside improves mood and well-being, and is particularly beneficial to children.
You can go for walks, go to the park, and engage in other similar activities, but should maintain social distance (i.e. be more than six feet away from persons who are not part of your household) when on walks and in parks to avoid spread of the virus.

Posted by sheltering in place
a resident of Escondido School
on Mar 16, 2020 at 7:23 pm

Malcolm and others with questions --
Wording about distance should be "be more than six feet away from persons who are not part of your household".

Check out the full set of Frequently Asked Questions on the Santa Clara County website: Web Link
Worth a read as we all try to figure out the new reality.

Posted by Frustrated Mom
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Mar 16, 2020 at 7:32 pm

Thank you so much for all your advise you are amazing. I was feeling really bad thinking that I going to become homeless and could not think clearly. I was not aware that the unemployment is a lot easier to apply. I was working as a bar tender, and because it was going slow due to corona virus. Two weeks ago they cut my hours so I started to work instructional aide sub, and was feeling better, and had just been working for one week, when I got the message that the schools are closing. I felt like the world was coming down on me. Again Thank you all for the information you provided me with.You are amazing.

Posted by PA parents.
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 16, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Can two people play tennis?

Posted by Parnelli Jones
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2020 at 8:38 pm

What about going for a drive just to get out of the house, or to go buy gas?

I assume that should be OK, but are the police going to be stopping people in cars and asking them where they are going?

I wish people would stop buying more than they need at the markets. I have not found any place that has any bread and toilet paper is reported out of stock almost everywhere. Come on people, think of everyone, not just yourselves.

Posted by Parnelli Jones
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2020 at 8:41 pm

And another thing ... everyone stop crowding the person in front of you in line somewhere and running up against their backsides. Stay back and chill. Things may take a bit longer, so what?

Posted by Natalia
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Will eye doctors be open / ability to get contacts and glasses?

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2020 at 11:58 pm

Shelter in place makes more sense than cancelling events or school. This is effective, and cancelling events just moves people from Point A to Point B, which is ineffectual.

It's sad that it's come to this, but without a vaccine - it's necessary. Voluntary didn't stop the spread, and there's been more deaths today (18) than any other day.

Posted by Sophia
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2020 at 12:42 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Trump fired the national pandemic team
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 17, 2020 at 6:17 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Jason ramirez
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 17, 2020 at 7:58 am

What would happen if I get caught outside my home and not doing things that I'm supposed to be doing other than grocery shopping or medical or whatever what are the charges if I get pulled over by the police

Posted by Homeless & On The Streets
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2020 at 9:02 am

It is very difficult getting by during these trying times & the recent COVID-19 mandates are making things even more difficult to survive when one has no stable home to sequester oneself.

Sourcing nutritious food, bathing facilities & shelter have become a daily challenge made worse by this pandemic.

Some people ask me if I am homeless & refuse to stand within 5 feet of me. This makes sense as I have not bathed nor changed my clothing since December of 2019.

This virus outbreak could be an act of Providence since pointing fingers or assigning geographical
blame is considered politically incorrect.

In any event, should a cure be found it will be too late for many whether homeless or home dwellers.

Posted by Member
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:08 am

Hi Jason, I found the answer to your question from the first paragraph of the order.
“Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120295, et seq.)”

Posted by Moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:22 am


Please correct this:
“ Testing capabilities for the virus are increasing though commercial laboratories and other sites, . . “

I believe you mean “through commercial laboratories. . .”

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:40 am

What's the difference between shelter in place and martial law?

Posted by PA parents.
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:51 am

Regarding tennis: I called the police dept. They did not give me a definitive answer. After pushing several times, all they said was, "It is not recommended." I hope this info is useful.

Posted by Barbara
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 17, 2020 at 11:28 am

I have read the information, that "walking", "hiking", maintaining the 6 ft social distance separation is allowed. I also read that seniors (and other at-risk populations) are required to stay in their homes.
Question: Is that subset of people (seniors, etc) also allowed to go walking, hiking, alone or with another as long as the separation is maintained? or does the special remain-at-home rule overrule this permission?

Posted by Arthur Keller
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Santa Cruz County also issued a shelter-in-place order, according to Web Link

Sonoma County is considering adopting a shelter-in-place order, according to Web Link

Posted by Arthur Keller
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Magical Bridge Foundation sent out this note this morning:

Update on Playing at Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto
To our MAGICAL and Beloved Community.
We've been receiving a lot of calls and emails with questions about visiting Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto. As of today March 17, 2020, a Public Health Order mandates everyone to stay off public playgrounds. This is a critical intervention to reduce harm from the spread of the coronavirus in our community.
In helping to "flatten the curve" we encourage you to follow ALL the guidelines issued by this Public Health Order from We expect the rest of the country to soon take the same measures enforced in the Bay Area to keep everyone safe and healthy. While this breaks our hearts, we know these necessary steps are needed to stop the spread of the Covid-19.
We've discovered a wonderful list of how to stay physically active with your kids and teens while at home. Web Link This huge list of active indoor activities will keep your kids — from toddlers to teens — busy and burning energy! Also, a friendly reminder that you and your family are allowed to go outside, walk your dog, or go on a hike. Just remember to keep a least six feet between you and others and avoiding contact with elderly and vulnerable individuals.
Here is how the public health order specifically answered the question about playgrounds.
How will I entertain my kids? Can we go to the playground or arrange playdates?
Do your best to entertain your children with games, reading, puzzles, and TV/videos at home. Engage them in education using online tools. However, you cannot take them to the playground or arrange playdates. Children are not able to maintain social distance, and even adults are prohibited from socializing with friends in this manner. It is essential that we stop the spread of the virus by not having in-person social interactions.
Web Link
Please do your best to stay safe and healthy. We care so deeply for everyone in our community, especially those who are vulnerable, socially isolated and marginalized. We'll continue to update our Facebook page with resources and ways to engage and play with your family and loved ones OFF the playground for now.
Team Magical Bridge

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2020 at 12:53 pm

From SFO's COVID-19 FAQ:

Q1. Is the airport closing due to the Coronavirus?
A1. No, SFO remains open and operational. Enhanced cleaning procedures have been enacted to combat the Covid-19 virus.

(how does social distancing work a the airport and on airliners?)

Q5. What measures is the airport taking to protect the travelers?
A5. SFO Custodial staff is cleaning “common touched” areas twice daily with antibacterial cleaning solutions.

(how does an antibacterial solution work on a virus?)

Q7. I’m flying out, will I be going through any medical screening before my flight?
A7. No.

With every other business in the Bay Area shut down it is really hard to understand why this industry, which is an obvious vector for transmission of the COVID-9 virus, is still open and operating? Why isn't San Francisco asking SFO to make the same sacrifice it is asking of every other business in the Bay Area?

When the airports and airlines comes begging for yet another multi-billion dollar bailout, I hope we all remember it was the poor public health policies and practices of the airports and airlines that brought the COVID-19 virus to our shores in the first place.

Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 17, 2020 at 1:19 pm

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that SAFEWAY (full and part time), RALEY'S (delivery service), ANDRONICO'S, VONS and PAK 'N SAVE are hiring. Apply or ask store management. Also, AMAZON and WHOLE FOODS. Need help paying rent, contact SEASON OF GIVING at the Chronicle and/or Santa Clara Social Services, Human Services (City of Palo Alto) at Cubberley.

Posted by @ ahem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2020 at 3:09 pm

@ ahem

The City of San Francisco owns SFO and makes a lot of money off of its operations...

On the other hand, we do need some air traffic maintained for cargo (as opposed to passenger traffic).

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2020 at 5:07 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 17, 2020 at 6:11 pm

Corporate socialism.

It’s OK to give money to companies if you’re a republican, but you can’t give it to the people or you’re a Socialist.

Brainwashing in open view people !!

Posted by Elon Musk is keeping Tesla open
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:58 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Confused
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 19, 2020 at 6:58 am

I work for a Tech company in San Jose and they’re forcing some of the employees to continue working in the office. Can they do that? Even if they’re not an essential.

Posted by gimme shelter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2020 at 11:23 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2020 at 11:33 am

Posted by gimme shelter, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> @Confused, at-will employment means you can always simply quit. No force involved.

Your dumb answer is not funny. But, since you asked, the company may differ in this case with the employee regarding what is "essential". Since it is a "tech" company, as stated, perhaps the system admins and security analysts are being required to work on-site to guarantee uptime for all the other people working from home. As long as they are allowed to maintain social distancing, I don't see a problem with it. They shouldn't be required to sit in meeting rooms with each other, and, the overall density of employees should be low.

The real ongoing threat to public health and safety that I see is that we all need food and certain other essentials, and, that is bringing too many of us in close contact with each other. We are all touching things others have touched.

"Back off!"

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