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What you need to know about the “shelter in place” order in Santa Clara County

Earlier today, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department just issued a “shelter in place” effective at midnight tonight, as a way of trying to stop the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19. 

What this means is that residents are being directed to stay home unless they need to leave for any essential services or activities, like grocery shopping or picking up medication. All non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals are also prohibited. 

This shelter in place order has been made in 6 Bay Area counties — Santa Clara, San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, and San Mateo… 

Here’s exactly what you need to know about it: 


  1. All modes of travel (whether by foot, bicycle, car, public transit, etc.) are prohibited unless you’re going out to procure essential services, or engage in essential activities. And if you do use public transit, you have to adhere to social distancing guidelines, which say to keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and everyone else. 
  2. Essential activities are allowed. Those activities that are essential to the health and safety of yourself, or other members of your household or family. This can be: picking up medication, or visiting a medical professional. It can also be the procuring of supplies needed to work from home.  
  3. You’re also allowed to leave your house for any essential items like groceries. Restaurants can only offer takeout or delivery. You can also grab any essential household items and other products necessary for safety or sanitation purposes. 
  4. Also, if you’re worried you’ll go stir crazy, here’s something useful: You’re allowed to go for a run or walk, just as long as you maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. 
  5. You can also leave your house if you need to care for a pet or other family member that resides elsewhere. 
  6. You can leave your residence if you’re seeking out services at “Healthcare Operations.” This means you can still go to pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, and dental offices. 
  7. Our First Responders and Law Enforcement personnel are exempt from the order, so we’ll still have our Police and Fire services. 
  8. Other essential businesses that are able to stay open during this time include gas stations, banks, newspaper/radio/TV services, private transportation (as long as they’re providing transportation for the procuring of essential services/items), home-based care, and businesses providing mailing and shipping services. 


This order will be in effect from March 17, 2020, until 11:59pm on April 7, 2020. However, it could possibly be extended or amended in any way in the meantime. 


Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.


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