Coronavirus California: Everything to know about stay at home order

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California is ordering nearly all residents to stay home and limit social interaction until further notice to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the statewide order on March 19, warning that unless the rise in cases of the novel coronavirus slows, it might overwhelm the state's medical system.

"This is a moment where we need some straight talk and we need to tell people the truth," Newsom said. "We need to bend the curve in the state of California and in order to do that -- we need to recognize reality."

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Newsom says people will be able to shop for food and seek medical care but should practice social distancing. In a letter to President Donald Trump, Newsom said the virus eventually could infect more than half the state's population.

Where is this order in effect?


The order for the entire state impacts 40 million people in California, including San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Kern, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda, Sonoma Kern and Fresno counties.

Read Executive Order N-33-20 here.

Can I leave my home?


Everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, officials say you need to keep at least 6 feet of distance.

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Governments around the country are looking at ways to curb the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. One way is to institute a shelter-in-place-order. But what does that mean and how does it work? We broke it down for you.



What is considered an 'essential activity?'


  • Tasks vital to health and safety - including: Gathering medical supplies, medication, items needed to work from home

  • Gathering household items, food and cleaning products

  • Outdoor activity is allowed -- but residents must comply with social distancing requirements

  • Caring for a family member or pet

  • Performing work for an essential business

That includes working in a healthcare, infrastructure, emergency responder capacities such as:

  • Hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical, biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, ancillary healthcare services and veterinary facilities that care for animals

  • Airports, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunications systems


  • Dispatchers, emergency responders, court personnel, law enforcement personnel

What is considered an 'essential business?'


  • Healthcare

  • Infrastructure

  • Grocery stores, farmers markets, foodbanks and produce stands


  • Farming, livestock and fishing

  • Business that provide shelter, social services and food for those in need

  • Newspapers, television, radio and other media

  • Gas stations, auto supply and repair facilities

  • Banks and financial institutions

  • Hardware stores

  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators and those who provide safety and sanitation services at homes

  • Mailing and shipping businesses

  • Laundromats and dry cleaners

  • Restaurants -- only for delivery or take out

  • Businesses that delivery or ship food or groceries

  • Home care for seniors, adults and kids

  • Legal and accounting services

  • Childcare -- must be groups of 12 or fewer kids

What is considered 'essential travel?'


  • Travel related to essential activities

  • Travel to care for elderly, children, minors, those with disabilities or other "vulnerable" people

  • Travel to schools or universities to receive meals

  • Travel to home residence from an outside area

  • Travel required by law or court order


What happens if I don't follow the shelter order?


"Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code 120295, et seq,)" the order reads.

Go here for the latest news, information and videos about the coronavirus.

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