Coronavirus California: What happens after shelter, stay at home order expires on May 4? Things won't go back to normal

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Sheltering-in-place has felt like an eternity for many people in the Bay Area, but when the current order expires on May 4, it doesn't mean we'll be able to go back to the way things were before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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"As complicated as the world is right now, it does come down to a small RNA virus that is transmitted through droplets and that's really what we have to control," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, an infectious disease expert and professor at Stanford University.

The Association of Bay Area Health Officers is are now working on a unified plan that could potentially ease restrictions on what members deem to be lower-risk activities in 13 jurisdictions, covering Napa down to Monterey.

"If people are going to be allowed to move in certain ways in one county, it could impact the county next door, and the county across the Bay," said Maldonado.

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To start, small businesses and outdoor activities such as landscaping and golfing could be re-introduced, as long as social distancing measures can be met. Officials say they're also exploring the possibility of allowing gatherings of less than 10 people, with other activities, approved as the summer progresses.

"Perhaps resuming preventive health care and dental care, perhaps day camps for children this summer, as the school year ends," said Gail Newel, Santa Cruz County Health Officer. "Even though the schools have been dismissed, the child care problems will continue through the summer."

Bay Area officials know that a lot of people are feeling uncertain right now as work is being done to determine what's best.

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"One of the most important things that we can do is make sure that we're very clear on what is being requested of all of us as citizens of our community," said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County board of supervisors.

Area health officers have been meeting multiple times per week via Slack and Zoom to discuss ways to re-open the Bay Area.

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