SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Six counties in the Bay Area are ordering residents to stay at home in an effort to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The order says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday in a desperate attempt by officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It affects nearly 7 million people in the counties of San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa.

Necessary government functions and essential stores will remain open.

People should work from home unless they provide essential services, such as public safety, sanitation and medical services. Pharmacies, banks, gas stations, grocery and convenience stores will remain open. Restaurants will be open only for take-out.

The shelter-at-home order comes as scientific evidence shows social distancing is one of the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable disease.

“Temporarily changing our routine is absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this pandemic,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer. “The Health Officers from the largest jurisdictions in the San Francisco Bay Area are united and we are taking this step together to offer the best protection to our respective communities.”

Essential businesses allowed to operate during the recommended action include:

  • Health care operations
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals
  • Fresh and nonperishable food retailers (including convenience stores)
  • Pharmacies
  • Child care facilities
  • Gas stations
  • Banks
  • Laundry businesses and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence.

In addition, health care, law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.

As of Monday, there are more than 250 confirmed cases of coronavirus and four deaths in the Bay Area.

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