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Stay home except for essential needs

On March 24, 2020, the County Health Officer revised Mendocino County’s order to align with the Governor’s Executive Order. Consistent with the State, the current Health Officer’s Order will be in place until further notice. The major changes in the current Health Officer’s Order include: a narrowed list of essential business to align with the State Order; the closure of all parks within Mendocino County; restriction of outdoor activity to within walking distance of one’s home; prohibition of all vacation home rentals; and prohibition of self-service food by shared utensils. 

We urge all residents to closely follow the restrictions in both the County and State Health Orders.

Download the Order to Shelter-in-Place for complete details.

For Shelter-In-Place Business questions, visit our Business FAQ page.

What does it mean to “shelter in place”?

The term “shelter-in-place” means to stay in your home and not leave unless necessary. The term “shelter-in-place” means to stay in your home and not leave unless necessary for one of the designated exceptions listed in the Order. Everyone shall stay home to slow the spread of the virus. You should limit your movements to essential outings. Allowable reasons to leave your home are to get food, to fill a prescription, to see a doctor, to go to work if your work is essential as defined in the Order, to take your child(ren) to and from childcare that is authorized under the order, and to help people you care for get the things they need to live, be healthy and stay safe.

The County’s Public Health Order requires people to stay home except for essential needs:

  • Everyone should stay home except to go to the grocery store and gas station.
  • Caring for a relative or friend.
  • Getting necessary health care.
  • Going to an essential job. 

Things you can do:

  • It is OK to go outside for walks if you are not in a group.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart when leaving your home for essential activities.
  • The Mendocino County order is in effect until further notice. 
  • The Governor’s Order is in place until further notice.

It’s important to note vulnerable populations must stay home (older adults, individuals with serious chronic medical conditions, individuals with compromised immune systems).

Why are we doing this?

This is a critical intervention to reduce harm from the spread of the coronavirus in our community. This is a mandatory order.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer has observed quickly mounting cases and serious illnesses across the region and became aware of the first case of COVID-19 in our County. 

Now is the time to do everything we can to prevent the situation from getting much worse in the upcoming days or weeks. Every hour counts. We need and appreciate the cooperation of everyone who lives and works in Mendocino County to act immediately.

While this news may feel alarming, it is a necessary step to prevent a worsening situation. The patterns of the virus around the world, and in our own state, tell us that moving right now to maximize social distancing and restrict people gathering is the best way to fight the virus and save lives. 

We know that there will be a lot of questions and concerns at the beginning of this new regimen. This is a major change being taken to protect public health. Please be patient and kind to one another. Together, we will get through this, and our community’s health will be protected.

How long will we stay home?

The Health Officer’s Order will remain in effect until further notice.   The Governor’s Order is also in effect until further notice.

The Health Officer will be closely monitoring the situation including directives from the Governor and State Public Health Officer every day in order to determine what adjustments make sense.

What is the difference between “sheltering in place” and “social distancing”?

Sheltering in place is the extension of the social distancing.  There are some differences.  Sheltering at home means:

  • Stay home (stay unexposed)
  • Only go out for essential services
  • Stay 6 feet or more away from others
  • Don’t gather

The other concepts from social distancing will continue to apply when you are out shopping or walking or going to the doctor.  These include washing hands, using hand sanitizer, disinfecting surfaces, not going out if sick, and staying at least six feet away from others.

Visiting friends and family

For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

Care for elderly parents or friends or those who have disabilities

Be sure that you protect them and you by following social distancing guidelines:

  • Keep at least 6 feet of distance when possible.  
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue.
  • Wash hands before and after or use hand sanitizer. 

If you are in a vulnerable population, contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support. They are permitted to pick up any of your needs.

Who issued the Order?

This Order was issued by Public Health Officer of Mendocino County. The Public Health Officer has the authority under state law to issue Orders to protect the health and welfare of everyone in their respective jurisdictions.

Can the Order be changed?

Yes.  It was important to get this Order in place quickly given the spread of the virus in our Northern California region. However, it can and will likely be updated as conditions warrant.

Please be sure to check the County website regularly to learn about updates and sign up for the Mendo Alerts Nixle and Everbridge text alert services.

We will also be sure to work with the media to share important updates and information.  

Why is this Order in place?

This Order was issued by Public Health Officer of Mendocino County.  The Public Health Officer has the authority under state law to issue Orders to protect the health and welfare of everyone in their respective jurisdictions.  

This Order is in place to address the anticipated spread of the COVID-19 virus in Mendocino County.   There is substantial community transmission of the virus in Northern California, which is easily spread between people. 

Because the virus spreads so easily, without dramatic intervention like this Order it would result in so many people needing medical attention in a hospital setting that our hospitals will be overwhelmed.  We may not have enough beds or equipment to adequately care for the most seriously ill.  Our health care workers and other first responders are also at risk, and if they get sick there are fewer people to provide health care and first response services.  For those reasons, it is critical that we now do everything in our power to prevent and slow down the spread of the virus.  Doing so will “flatten the curve” to slow down the spread of the virus and help our health care system not be overwhelmed.  If this succeeds, it means that there will be health care available for those who get sick with COVID-19 or who need emergency medical care for accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other routine medical conditions.

We all have to do our part now to protect everyone in the community.  The best way to do that is to “socially isolate” yourself at home to avoid further spread of the virus.

Why now?

This Order is issued based on evidence of increasing occurrence of COVID-19 throughout the Bay Area, scientific evidence, and best practices regarding the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable diseases generally and COVID-19 specifically, and evidence that the age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population of the County places it at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in the region, there is a public health emergency throughout the County.  Making the problem worse, some individuals who contract the COVID-19 virus have no symptoms or have mild symptoms, which means they may not be aware they carry the virus. Because even people without symptoms can transmit the disease, and because evidence shows the disease is easily spread, gatherings can result in preventable transmission of the virus. The scientific evidence shows that at this stage of the emergency, it is essential to slow virus transmission as much as possible to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. One proven way to slow the transmission is to limit interactions among people to the greatest extent practicable.  By reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this Order helps preserve critical and limited healthcare capacity in the County. 

Why is the County Public Health Officer issuing an order that may affect businesses in my community?

At this stage of the emergency, it is essential to slow virus transmission as much as possible to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. 

The Public Health Officer has been closely monitoring the rapidly accelerating situation with COVID-19 in our Northern California region and it is clear that if we do not take very strong and aggressive action to slow down the spread of the disease, there will be substantial harm to members of our community.

Additionally, our hospitals and particularly our intensive care units could be overwhelmed with patients. We are taking this action to save the lives of the many higher-risk people in our community who are particularly susceptible to severe illness or death from COVID-19. The Order also protects everyone’s ability to seek emergency health care when needed.

The intent of this Order is to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the extent possible by ensuring that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence, while also enabling essential services to continue.

What if I am diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus or have been exposed to someone who was?

If you have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, you will need to be isolated to protect those around you.

If you were exposed to someone who was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, you should quarantine for the recommended time in order to not expose others if you happen to have the virus yourself.

Please see the COVID-19 Isolation & Homecare Recommendations for more information

What Can I do? What is open?

Please refer to and follow the Health Officer’s Order and the State Public Health Officer’s List of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. In accordance with the State and County Order, these essential services will remain open: 

  • Many County government services, Police stations, fire stations, jails, courts, garbage/sanitation, transportation, utilities (water, power and gas). Use online or mobile services whenever possible;
  • Healthcare organizations, such as hospitals, medical and mental health clinics, doctor offices, pharmacies, health care supply stores, and other health care facilities;  Veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals;
  • Educational institutions,—including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, such as providing meals;
  • Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, etc. and other essential groceries such as household cleaning and personal care products and stores that sell pets supplies;
    • This includes stores that sell groceries and ALSO other non-grocery products, necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of our homes/residences. However, clothing may not be sold in any manner which allows the customer to handle or try on before a purchase is made;
    • Self-service food items by shared utensils (e.g., tongs, ladles, shared condiment dispensers) are prohibited;
  • Restaurants and other prepared food facilities, but only for delivery, carry out or curb-side pick-up and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences as long as all COVID-19 precautionary measures are implemented;
  • Pharmacies
  • Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
  • Taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Agriculture and food cultivation, including but not limited to, food and beverage cultivation, farming, ranching, fishing, forestry, livestock and legal cannabis and other medicines (and businesses that supply agriculture, food and beverage cultivation, processing and distribution);
  • Licensed retail facilities/ dispensaries may only operate via curbside pickup or delivery;Banks and related financial institutions, such as check-cashing and money order services;
  • Garbage and sanitation services and collection;
  • Hardware, home improvement stores, home appliance stores, nurseries, and plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety and sanitation;
  • Laundromats and laundry service providers;
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate (i.e., Office Supplies, internet and telecommunication service providers); 
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, disabled persons or children (however skilled nursing facilities are not open to visitors for our vulnerable elders at this time);
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted, subject to certain conditions discussed below. Child care for essential workers may also include babysitters that come to the essential worker’s home;
  • Community benefit organizations on a case-by-case basis;

You can go to the store to buy food for yourself, for those in your home, and for anyone else that needs help. This also includes medical supplies at a pharmacy and essential home maintenance supplies at a hardware or home improvement store.

You can also travel to pick up free food for children from schools throughout Mendocino County. 

Help retailers maintain at least 6 feet minimum distance between patrons, including by providing ample space while shopping and waiting in line.

Minimize unnecessary trips.

Are online stores and delivery still available?

  • Mail and other delivery services to your home can continue to function, as can food delivery services. 
  • You can place more orders from online stores. Businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences are essential businesses that may continue to operate.

What can't I do?

  • You cannot engage in group activities in person with others. 
  • You cannot have dinner parties. You cannot invite friends over to your home to hang out. 
  • You cannot go to tasting rooms, bars or nightclubs.
  • You cannot go to a nail salon or get your hair cut by a stylist or barber.
  • You cannot go shopping for non-essential goods.
  • You cannot take unnecessary trips on public transport or in your car or motorbike.

Where does this apply?

This is in effect across Mendocino County.

Is this mandatory or is it just guidance?

It is mandatory. This Order is a legal Order issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply, and it is a misdemeanor crime not to follow the order. The intent is prevention of the spread of this deadly illness and protection of human life.

It is critical for everyone to follow the Order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves, their loved ones, friends, neighbors and the whole community. 

All persons, businesses, and other entities are required to comply if they do not fall within the exemptions that are specified in the Order.

What happens if I don’t comply with this Order?

This is a legally enforceable order issued under California law. It is a crime to violate this Order, and you may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for doing so.

What if I need to get healthcare from my medical provider?

You can still get your health needs addressed. Contact your health care provider to see if they are providing regular services. Some services, especially elective procedures, may be postponed or canceled.

If you are feeling sick, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center.

Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency.

Can I leave home to visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need?

No. For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. 

Can I still get deliveries from online stores? Can I order from online stores?

Yes. The mail and other delivery services to your home can continue to function, as can food delivery services. 

Yes, you can place more orders from online stores. Businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences are essential businesses that may continue to operate.

Can I use ride share or on-demand service or a taxi?

Yes, but only for essential travel. 

Do your best to take social distancing precautions: cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze, use hand sanitizer, and wash your hands before and after rides, etc.

Can I use public transport?

Yes, but only for essential travel. 

Public transit will continue to operate on a limited basis. When using public transport, you should maintain at least 6 feet, two to three steps away, including if you are on the bus or on trains. 

This is why it’s important to only take public transportation for essential activities – you want to help everyone be able to practice social distancing. 

Can I get my prescriptions or other health care needs? Can I leave home to go to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled?

Yes. Drug stores and other medical supply stores are allowed to operate. When possible you should have the drug store deliver your prescription medicine to your home. 

How will I get food and medicines I need if I must stay in my home?

The Order specifically allows people to leave their home to buy food, purchase medicine, and purchase other necessary items. It also directs businesses selling those items to remain open, and allows employees of those businesses to keep working and to ensure those businesses are operating.

Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and medication?

No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items whenever you need them, as stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open.

Continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally do. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.  

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Be sure that you protect them and you by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue.  

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

Generally no.  Many institutions have a no visitation policy with some limited exceptions for end of life situations, OB, or pediatric care. If you need to know more, please contact the facility you want to visit by phone before you leave. 

For most other situations, other existing Orders of the Health Officer addressing this emergency prohibit non-necessary visitation to these kinds of facilities.

This is difficult, but it is necessary in order to protect hospital staff and other patients.

What should I do if I’m sick and need to go to the hospital or a medical provider? How can I protect others?

Unless it is an emergency, if possible, walk or drive yourself to the healthcare. If someone else in your home can safely drop you off, that is another good option. You want to try to avoid exposing others to any germs you have, especially if you are seriously ill.

If you have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like a surgical mask or N-95 mask, you can wear that to prevent exposing others. If you don’t have that, you could use a temporary method such as wrapping a clean scarf around your mouth and nose to try to reduce droplets when you cough and sneeze.(Although this is not an approved method, it is something you can do to avoid exposing others). Just do the best you can.  

What if I can’t get out of the home? How can I get supplies and food?

Please contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support. They are permitted to pick up any of your needs.

Can I still seek non-essential medical care like eye exams, teeth cleaning, elective procedures, etc.?

Routine medical appointments and elective surgery should be cancelled or rescheduled.  To the extent possible, all health care visits that are not cancelled or rescheduled should be done remotely.

Are Cannabis Dispensaries considered an essential service?

Yes. However, licensed cannabis dispensaries may only operate for curbside pickup or delivery.

What about places of worship such as church or temple?

Please stay home.

We understand that cancelling religious services in particular have a significant impact on communities, congregations and organizations – religiously, spiritually, morally, and emotionally. We encourage gatherings that are done remotely by webinar, teleconference, social media, and telephone.

This our best chance to save lives. Our actions can support the most vulnerable in our community and protects everyone. The more united we can be in preventing the spread, the greater the benefit for the whole community, and the sooner we can end the restrictive measures.

What if my business is not considered an Essential Business? Does this Order require that I shut down my business facility?

Business that are required to close may still continue to perform Minimum Basic Operations, provided that employees maintain a distance of six feet from one another to the greatest extent feasible to carrying out:

  • The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, perform cleaning or other essential functions while in personal protective equipment (as appropriate), or for related functions.
  • The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

For more information on what is an essential business, please visit our Business FAQ page.

Are commercial construction projects Essential Infrastructure?

Possibly. It depends on if the work falls into any of these categories of the Health Officer’s Order or the Executive Order/State Public Health List of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.

That includes, but is not limited to:

  • Public works construction
  • Construction of housing (in particular affordable housing or housing for individuals experiencing homelessness)
  • Airport operations
  • Water, sewer, gas, and electrical 
  • Roads and highways
  • Public transportation
  • Solid waste collection and removal
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services)

I work for the government—Can I continue to go to work?

Government employees can continue to go to work if they are designated as essential employees by their employer. Other government entities are responsible for determining which of its workers are essential workers.

What are the employment functions that are permissible under the Order?

The Health Officer’s Order and the Executive Order/State Public Health List of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers have an extensive list of what qualifies as Essential Business /Critical Infrastructure Workers. The employees of these businesses may continue to work outside of their residences so that the businesses may continue to offer their goods and services.  Employees of non-essential businesses may report to work only to maintain “Minimum Basic Operations,” which are the operations necessary the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, perform cleaning or other essential functions while in personal protective equipment as appropriate, or for related functions.  

Additionally, government employees who are designated as essential by their government employer may continue to work outside their residence.  Any employees who work outside their residence should maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person whenever possible.

What do I do about my job, which requires me to go to work?

Many businesses are not permitted to operate under this Order.  Essential Businesses are allowed to operate.  A list of Essential Business is above.   If your work is not an Essential Business, you are not permitted to go to work and your employer is not permitted to require you to attend except for Minimum Basic Operations (discussed above).  You may work from home if your work permits.

What if I work for a school or a childcare facility?

Please review the Order for more details about requirements and restrictions and see the next question and answer. 

Does this Order require that schools shut down?

This Order requires that all schools stop holding classes at physical locations within the County.  However, schools may provide distance learning to their students.  Employees of schools may go to work for the purpose of providing distance learning to their students.  Schools can also continue to offer students free and reduced price lunches, which many schools are doing.  

Does the Order allow me to have my children in childcare? Will my daycare be shut down?

Childcare facilities may only operate if they comply with conditions of this Order as they relate to child care.  Among these conditions, children must be cared for in groups of 12 or fewer, groups of children may not mix with each other, and providers may not circulate between groups

Are nannies permitted to be used? What about other in-home child care?

In some instances.  If the nanny or babysitter provides medical/health care for the child, then yes.  If the nanny lives with you, then yes.  Otherwise, nannies or babysitters which are not necessary for medical care are not permitted. Also, parents required to work away from home for essential services may need in-home child care, which is permitted.

I work for a company that provides products and services that the public needs to access critical services. Is my company being shut down?

No.  However, most employees will need to work from home.  Anyone who must work onsite to maintain “Essential Infrastructure” for the community or to maintain “Minimum Necessary Operations” as described in the Order may continue to work in the workplace so long as they are maintaining social distancing.

Are non-profit organizations allowed to continue operating?

If they provide essential services as described in the order, then yes they can and should continue providing those services.  This would include non-profits operating food pantries, providing housing for homeless residents, and many other critical services. However, these non-profits must use every precaution to prevent the spread of infection and follow social distancing as much as possible.

Am I allowed to leave the areas covered by this Order to travel to/from a job outside the Mendocino County? Does the Order allow me to leave the County?

The Order allows travel out of the County only to perform “essential activities,” operate “essential businesses,” or to maintain “essential governmental functions,” as those terms are defined in the Order.  Otherwise, the answer is “no” because that travel puts you and others in the community at risk.  

Am I allowed to leave the areas covered by this Order to travel to/from a vacation home outside Mendocino County?

No, except to the extent that you leave Mendocino County and do not travel back or are leaving for a permitted purpose.  That kind of travel runs the risk of spreading the virus around the state or elsewhere, and that puts others at risk.  Stay put and don’t risk exposing yourself or others.

I am currently on vacation outside the County—Does the Order allow me to return home?

Yes.  You should maintain social distancing on your way home, and then you will be subject to the limitations in this Order.  If you prefer to shelter in place at your current location, you are encouraged to follow this Order while outside Mendocino County in order to protect yourself and others.

What happens if I leave Mendocino County to go on a planned vacation?

The Order requires that you shelter in your place of residence. If you leave Mendocino County for vacation or for another reason that is not an essential purpose exempt under the Order, then you may not be permitted to return to your residence. Traveling runs the risk of spreading the virus to other areas and exposing new populations.  Do not travel.  As explained above, if you live outside of Mendocino County, you are allowed to travel to and from work if your work is essential business, or if you need to travel to Mendocino County for another essential service like a medical appointment.

I’m visiting and staying in a hotel, with family/friends, or in a short term rental. What should I do? Can I go home?

This Order covers you, and you should do your best to avoid spreading the risk of the virus.  If you have a car and can return home via travel, you may do so if you follow social distancing protocols.  If you have a flight or other travel, you should check first with the carrier to see if they are still operating and what protocols they recommend.  You are strongly encouraged to shelter in place when you arrive to your destination to avoid infecting anyone else in your home community.  

If you need to stay longer, coordinate with your accommodations as best you can.

What do I do about my kids? I have to work.

The Order allows you to take steps necessary to take your children to authorized childcare.  Otherwise, you should address childcare needs as you are able given the constraints of the situation.  

Can I leave home to exercise?

All gyms and similar facilities are closed. Recreational sites such as parks, playgrounds, beaches, navigable waterways for recreational purpose are also closed. Any outdoor activity or exercise may only be initiated from one’s residence, and you should take steps to avoid close contact with other people. You are not permitted to drive to a place for exercise.

What sports can I play?

You can engage in certain activities outdoors, but you should not play sports indoors or play team sports.  

Sports that are permitted (as long as you maintain at least six feet from anyone else and don’t share equipment):  

  • Yoga on your own (no sharing blocks or mats)
  • Running alone or with others with distance
  • Riding your bike (alone/with distance)
  • Walking (alone/with distance)
  • Stretching
  • Swimming in the ocean or in your own pool/hot tub
  • Shooting baskets by yourself, or hitting a tennis ball against a backboard

Be sure to be within walking/biking distance from home.

Not permitted: 

  • Any team sports where there is any contact or where a ball or other equipment is touched by multiple people (soccer, baseball, basketball, Frisbee, etc.)  
  • Swimming in a communal pool

I become anxious when cooped up in my house. Am I allowed to go to a park? Can I travel to a park or open space?

No. Please note that all parks in Mendocino County are closed as of March 24, 2020 at 10:00 p.m. due to the COVID-19 Shelter-In-Place Order. You can go on a walk, bike or run within walking/biking distance of your house.

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.

Who counts as a family member?

A family member includes anyone you live with, anyone who is a legal relative of yours, or anyone you treat as a family member.

What do I do about my loved one who needs care from me?

You are permitted to provide care or to help with getting supplies for loved ones. But don’t provide care or pick up supplies if you are sick and someone else can do it.  If you are sick, please try to self-isolate or take other steps not to expose anyone else to your illness.

Can I go to the store (grocery store, market, corner store, food bank, etc.) to buy food and other things?

Yes, you can go to the store to buy food for yourself, for those in your home, and for anyone else that needs help. This also includes medical supplies at a pharmacy and essential home maintenance supplies at a hardware or home improvement store. 

Can grocery stores, farmers markets, and other food retailers remain open?

Yes. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and similar food retail establishments are encouraged to remain open to provide food and pet supplies to the public.

When visiting these establishments, please help retailers maintain at least 6 feet minimum distance between patrons, including by providing ample space while shopping and waiting in line.

Liquor stores that also sell food qualify as essential. We want people access to food wherever possible. 

My child’s school is providing food or meals; can I leave home to go to the school to pick up the food or meals?

Yes.

I operate a food facility—what practices should I follow to keep my patrons safe?

Follow the best practices for allowable food facility operations included in the this Notice to Food Facilities—Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Consult the Public Health Department’s website for additional up to date information.

Can I go shopping for things other than food/groceries?

You can shop for anything that is related to health care, office supplies, and hardware supplies. You should minimize unnecessary trips.

Can big box stores that sell groceries and essentials stay open?

Yes.

Can I go out to do laundry or have my laundry done?

Yes.

Can I go to the bank?

Yes, you can go to the bank.  You should minimize unnecessary trips. 

What are the social distancing guidelines I still need to follow?

The best way to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid groups (stay at least six feet away from others)
  • Reduce the time you are around others outside the home, even when at least six feet away.
  • Regularly clean high-traffic surfaces
  • If you are sick stay home unless you need to seek medical care in which case you should call ahead

When practicing social distancing, how far should I stay away from others if I must be away from my home?

At least 6 feet, which is appropriately two to three steps away, including if you are using public transportation.  This is why it’s important to only take public transportation for essential activities – you want to help everyone be able to practice social distancing. 

What if I’m in a line and there isn’t six feet between me and others?

You should still try to maintain at least six feet between you and others.  When that isn’t possible for short periods, do your best to keep the duration short.  Be sure when you are in line that you don’t sneeze or cough onto people.  If needed, cough or sneeze into your shirt or into an elbow with clothing on.

I work for an essential infrastructure organization—can I leave home to go to work?

Yes.  “Essential Infrastructure” includes, but is not limited to, water, sewer, gas, electrical, roads and highways, public transportation, internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

I work in healthcare operations—can I leave home to go to work?

Yes.  “Healthcare Operations” includes hospitals, clinics, dentists, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services.  “Healthcare Operations” also includes veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.  “Healthcare Operations” does not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities.

Can I go to a bar/nightclub/theater?

No.  Entertainment venues like these are not permitted to be open during this Order.

Can I go to a restaurant, café, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location?

Yes, but only to pick up food.  You cannot dine-in or eat or drink at the facility.  Patrons will not be permitted to dine or congregate in restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.

Is my favorite restaurant, café, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location open?

Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food to the public are encouraged to stay open, but only to provide delivery and carry out. Patrons will not be permitted to dine or congregate in restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.

I don’t cook—how can I purchase meals?

Restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and similar establishments may remain open to supply meals to the public via delivery and carryout. You can also purchase prepared foods at grocery stores, supermarkets, certified farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and other such food retailers.

How can I access free or reduced price meals for myself or my family?

Schools, soup kitchens, food banks, and other entities that provide free or reduced priced food goods or meals to students or other members of the public are encouraged to continue providing these services.  However, food provided by these establishments to the public may not be eaten on the premises but must instead be delivered or taken away for consumption.

Can I go to the gym or health club?

No.  Gyms are ordered closed.

Can I walk my dog/pet?

Yes.  Be sure that you distance yourself at least 6 feet from other pets and owners and be within walking distance from home.

Can I got to a vet or pet hospital if my pet is sick?

Yes.  Be sure that you distance yourself at least 6 feet from other pets and owners. 

What if my plumbing gets stopped up or there is another problem with necessary equipment at my home? How will I access those sorts of services?

Call your plumber or building manager. This Order allows service providers like plumbers, electricians, and exterminators to keep working and providing their services to the public. To obtain supplies for a DIY solution, you can also visit a hardware store, which are allowed to stay open under this Order.

Can I keep working from home?

Yes, as long as your employer permits it.

What if I want to go to work and I’m not sick?

Unless your work includes an essential function, you cannot go to work.  You may have the virus and not know it, or you might get it and risk infecting those you live with.

Do funeral homes fall under the category of "essential business"?

Yes. They offer core services that would be considered essential.

Holding group viewings/wakes/memorial services is not permitted.

Can I travel across the State or Country at this time to return a visitor to his or her home?

Travel for the purpose of allowing a non-resident to return to their residence is permitted.

Can I continue to follow custody court orders with the shelter-in-place order?

Leaving your home in order to comply with a court order, including court ordered custody arrangements is permitted.

Additional Shelter-in-Place FAQ's may be found on the State's website  |  Aprenda Más