Bay Area shelter-in-place: County health officers answer 5 confusing questions

ByAlix Martichoux, Jesse Garcia KGO logo
Saturday, May 2, 2020
6 Bay Area counties agree to lift some shelter-in-place restrictions
Six Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley have agreed to lift some of the shelter-in-place extensions starting on May 4.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When six Bay Area counties announced a rollback of some shelter-in-place restrictions earlier this week, there were a lot of questions.

With differences between the local and state orders, which one do people have to follow? What kind of outdoor activities are allowed? And what about small gatherings? And for the love of golf, which courses are open?

We asked the health departments in all nine Bay Area counties for answers to five confusing questions about the new shelter-in-place restrictions. You can find their answers below.

(Note: Sonoma County declined to answer our questions.)

RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom says California may be 'days, not weeks' from further reopening

Is tennis allowed in your county? Are tennis courts open?

Alameda County: Sports with shared equipment or physical contact, like soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and tennis, may only be played with members of your same household or living unit.

Contra Costa County: Yes.

Marin County: Up to the court owners at this time. Tennis would be a sport or activity that involves use of shared equipment (the ball) and therefore may only be engaged in by members of the same household or living unit. (SIP Order 16.a.iii.)So entities that contain tennis courts can either open the courts up at this point and choose to try to enforce the "only members of the same household or living unit" rule or they can keep their courts shut.

Napa County: Tennis is not allowed on the current shelter-at-home order, we have no date yet when that may change.

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San Francisco County: Fitness centers, gyms, recreational centers, fitness equipment at parks, climbing walls, tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pools, and other shared sports facilities are closed.

San Mateo County: No.

Santa Clara County: The public in Santa Clara County can play tennis at public places with anyone they shelter in place with.

Solano County: Public tennis courts are closed in city areas.

Are there any changes that allows for in-person church services? Could a group of 10 or fewer gather to worship outside?

Alameda County: No. For your safety as well as the safety of your fellow worshippers, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. But places of worship can offer remote access to services, such as by emails, video streaming, or teleconference.

Contra Costa County: See Alameda County answer.

Marin County: No changes.

Napa County: Drive-in church services are allowed at this time. That means that cars can park and be physically distanced but worship together via radio or some speaker system.

San Francisco County: See Alameda County answer.

San Mateo County: No.

Santa Clara County: The shelter-at-home order is still in place and it applies to all gatherings not specifically included as an exception.

Solano County: Gatherings of people for non-essential services are not permitted, including church services.

Can dog parks reopen?

Alameda County: No. Dog parks are areas that encourage people to gather together, and are required to close. Note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance advising that you should treat pets as you would your human family members - do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside your household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.

Contra Costa County: You can walk your dog but you cannot use dog parks.

Marin County: Dog parks are specifically disallowed (and in the text of the SIP order itself).

RELATED: Santa Cruz County closing beaches 6 hours per day to deter day trippers

Napa County: This is dependent city-to-city. County has not closed parks but physical distancing would be required.

San Francisco County: Use of enclosed dog parks is prohibited, while open spaces that allow dogs are still open.

San Mateo County: No.

Santa Clara County: Dog parks are still closed.

Solano County: Under the lifting of the stay-at-home order in Solano County, outside activities that can maintain social distancing will be open. Not all facilities can open at once, some may open over time in order to maintain sanitation and cleaning services.

Are play dates with other families now allowed? Now that childcare facilities and summer camps will reopen to stable groups of 12 or fewer kids, could my family and one other family agree to let our children play together?

Alameda County: Parents are not allowed to organize small group gatherings of children. This includes recreational or any other purpose. Youth sports teams may not meet, practice or play. Recreational gatherings of small groups of children are not allowed. Childcare establishments are allowed to operate only to care for children of parents who are essential workers as identified in the Order. Parents authorized to work may send their children to childcare while they are working, not for recreational purposes.

Contra Costa County: No. For your safety as well as their safety, you are not allowed to visit friends or family members outside your own household.

Marin County: No answer provided.

Napa County: This is not allowed. It is not essential, whereas child care to support the essential workforce may be.

San Francisco County: Under San Francisco's order, parents are not allowed to organize small group gatherings of children. This includes for recreational or any other purpose.

San Mateo County: No.

Santa Clara County: The daycare situation is to provide child care for those allowed to work. For other scenarios, the shelter in place order still applies.

Solano County: Non-essential services/gatherings are not permitted under the current stay-at-home order in Solano County. Childcare services are essential services, especially for first responders, health care workers and essential workers. Childcare facilities in Solano County are instructed to follow a protocol during this incident.

Are golf courses open in your county?

Alameda County: Yes, golf courses can reopen and social distancing must be maintained. Golfers cannot use carts, and should participate as singles, unless they are golfing with other members of their household. If the State has more restrictive conditions, golf courses must comply with those restrictions.

Contra Costa County: Outdoor recreation facilities that are not expressly prohibited by the Order, such as golf courses, skate parks, and athletic fields, are permitted to open only if they comply with any restrictions on access and use that are established by the Health Officer, another government agency, or other entity that manages such area to reduce crowding and risk of transmission of COVID-19. Anyone using a shared outdoor recreational facility must follow social distancing requirements.

Marin County: Not currently, but will open May 4th. However, golf courses are only allowed to operate under strict provisions.

Napa County: Yes, with restrictions on shared equipment and physical distancing requirements and protocols for the operators to follow. Golfing is only open to county residents.

San Francisco County: See Contra Costa County answer.

San Mateo County: Yes (starting Monday).

Santa Clara County: The County of Santa Clara County allows golf courses to open as long as the state allows it.

Solano County: No, golf courses are not open in Solano County.