Shut down

About 7 million people live in the seven Bay Area counties affected by the joint public health order to shelter in place. But what does it mean to shelter in place in this instance?

Can you go to work? Maybe. The order requests most people work from home if possible or suspend working operations if they can’t. However, there is a relatively long list of businesses that are exempt from the order. They include a wide range of businesses, including some that aren’t intuitive. Pretty much anyone involved in retail food sales or farming may go to work, and those who run gas stations, banks, hardware stores, laundromats and newspapers are all allowed to travel to work.

Can you go outside? Yes. Just stay six feet or more from the people you meet. In fact, experts say a little fresh air will do you good.

Can you go out to eat? No, not at a restaurant itself. You may pick up food from area restaurants and the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau has put together a helpful list of places that might be open.

Can your child go on a playdate? It’s strongly discouraged. The order says that public and private gatherings of people outside a single household are prohibited. Is it possible to meet someone at the playground? Decisions like that are going to be difficult.

What if you defy the order? It calls such defiance a misdemeanor punishable by fine and imprisonment.

There is much more in the order to consider. You can read the entire order here. And if there are particular questions we might answer at the Review, please email them to We’ll do our best to answer.

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