Berkeley, Bay Area to extend shelter-in-place order to end of May

The forthcoming order will also ease some small restrictions, the city said.

The shelter-in-place rules will largely stay in effect until the end of May in Berkeley and beyond. Photo: Pete Rosos

The Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order will be extended through the end of May, the city of Berkeley and six other health departments announced Monday morning.

The forthcoming extension will also lift some restrictions on “lower-risk activities” that have been in place since mid-March, according to announcement. The new order will be released and go into effect later this week. The existing rules were set to expire May 3, but an extension was expected.

“More work is needed to safely re-open our communities,” despite the progress so far, the statement says.

Read the city’s full announcement:

The Public Health Officers of the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara as well as the City of Berkeley will later this week issue revised shelter-in-place orders that largely keep the current restrictions in place and extend them through May.

The new order will include limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities. The shelter-in-place orders in effect across the seven separate jurisdictions are set to expire on May 3, 2020.

Thanks to the collective effort and sacrifice of the 7 million residents across our jurisdictions, we have made substantial progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, ensuring our local hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, and saving lives. At this stage of the pandemic, however, it is critical that our collective efforts continue so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved together. Hospitalizations have leveled, but more work is needed to safely re-open our communities. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases.

The Health Officers will also release a set of broad indicators that will be used to track progress in preparedness and response to COVID-19, in alignment with the framework being used by the State of California. Future easing of restrictions requires that each jurisdiction and various sectors continue to rapidly build critical infrastructure and systems to respond to and control the spread of coronavirus infections and to ensure the health care system’s ability to meet demand.

This global COVID-19 pandemic is still in its early stages. The virus spreads easily, testing capacity is limited and expanding slowly, and vaccine development is just beginning. We expect to be responding to COVID-19 in our communities for a long time. As effective as our efforts have been, if we move too fast to ease restrictions, the potential of exponential spread could have grave impacts to health and wellness of our residents as well as the economy.

The Health Officers of these seven jurisdictions have been working closely together in leading a unified, regional approach, to protect the health and safety of our residents. Details regarding this next phase will be shared later in the week, along with the updated order.