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What is and isn't allowed during a 'shelter-in-place' order

San Francisco's streets are empty and residents are largely staying indoors as a shelter-in-place order goes into effect to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. CNN's Dan Simon reports.

Posted: Mar 18, 2020 9:50 PM
Updated: Mar 18, 2020 9:50 PM

The basics of a "shelter-in-place" order during the coronavirus pandemic are fairly clear: Stay at home.

But as cities, states and the federal government take increasingly aggressive moves to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, the precise details of a "shelter-in-place" order and its many exceptions for "essential activities" may soon become familiar to millions of Americans across the country.

Already, nearly 7 million people living in a wide swath of Northern California are under a "shelter-in-place" order, which began Monday night.

And Tuesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers to prepare for the possibility that there could be a shelter-in-place order within the next two days. Whether that actually happens remains unclear, though. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose approval would be required for such a move, has repeatedly downplayed such a move.

A growing number of countries have also imposed lockdowns that effectively shut down public life, but the details of such lockdowns vary dramatically. For example, Italy banned all public gatherings and set a 6 p.m. curfew but allowed travel for work or health reasons, while in China, millions of residents are restricted from even going to shop for groceries.

What exactly is "essential?"

The "shelter-in-place" order that San Francisco adopted has fairly large exemptions for health, work, food and even exercise.

There, city officials ordered residents to remain in place at their homes except for essential activities, essential business, and essential government functions, including:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor.
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food and supplies necessary for staying at home.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running provided that they maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing.
  • Caring for a family member in another household.
  • Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.

The shelter-in-place order also does not apply to those going to work in an essential business or essential government function. That includes:

  • Health care operations, including home health workers.
  • Essential Infrastructure, including construction of housing and operation of public transportation and utilities.
  • Grocery stores, farmers' markets, food banks, convenience stores.
  • Businesses that provide necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities.
  • Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities.
  • Gas stations and auto repair facilities.
  • Banks.
  • Garbage collection.
  • Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians and other service providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses.
  • Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning.
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers.
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences.
  • Child care facilities providing services that enable essential employees to go to work.
  • Roles required for any essential business to "maintain basic operations," which include security, payroll and similar activities.

The Northern California shelter-in-place order applied to San Francisco and Berkeley as well as residents in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties, per the order from health officers of those jurisdictions.

"We must move aggressively and immediately," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said at a news conference announcing the order. "The time for half measures is over. History will not forgive us for waiting an hour more."

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493252

Reported Deaths: 9929
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709861374
Mobile36108725
Madison32405455
Tuscaloosa24110410
Montgomery22565500
Shelby21929215
Baldwin19732283
Lee14961153
Morgan13659251
Calhoun13275286
Etowah13176319
Marshall11261209
Houston10086261
Elmore9376185
Limestone9359134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8822223
Lauderdale8603211
DeKalb8446175
Talladega7517163
Walker6518255
Jackson6492102
Autauga626491
Blount6097127
Colbert6001118
Coffee5245102
Dale4640107
Russell404730
Franklin399177
Covington3957106
Chilton3870100
Escambia377472
Tallapoosa3585142
Clarke343650
Chambers3410110
Dallas3403141
Pike293372
Lawrence282984
Marion281895
Winston246767
Bibb245060
Geneva239670
Marengo235855
Pickens224654
Barbour211551
Hale209768
Fayette200256
Butler196166
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156535
Clay144354
Crenshaw144354
Macon142043
Cleburne137739
Lamar132833
Lowndes131051
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87632
Choctaw55023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 775004

Reported Deaths: 11411
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby872191491
Davidson81420861
Knox45877581
Hamilton40298459
Rutherford38301383
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Madison10092229
Robertson8941120
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Anderson7971156
Greene7283145
Tipton6945103
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Carter5962152
McMinn591791
Roane588896
Bedford5789119
Loudon567965
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Lawrence556383
Monroe532290
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Hawkins523894
Dyer5234101
Franklin472585
Fayette466171
Obion436694
Rhea414473
Lincoln413362
Cocke397593
Marshall390756
Cheatham390543
Campbell380059
Weakley378659
Giles373296
Henderson361973
Carroll347981
Hardeman338164
White337166
Macon336373
Hardin331163
Lauderdale309742
Henry300675
Marion293644
Wayne287130
Scott286843
Overton284857
Claiborne278967
McNairy267253
Hickman264941
Haywood264860
DeKalb264349
Smith255636
Grainger242446
Trousdale238922
Morgan229637
Fentress229144
Johnson216338
Chester201548
Bledsoe200110
Crockett197147
Unicoi180347
Polk175522
Cannon174529
Union171933
Grundy168330
Lake167826
Sequatchie155327
Decatur153737
Humphreys153221
Benton150739
Lewis146825
Meigs125921
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Houston102732
Moore94416
Van Buren79520
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Hancock49612

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