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San Francisco enacts mandatory COVID quarantine travel order

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Anyone coming into San Francisco from outside the Bay Area will be required to quarantine for 10 days.

The new travel order was issued on Friday as COVID cases surge across the state and country.

It will be lifted until at least Jan. 7.

Travelers support the new order and plan to follow the rules.

Overall, travel was down at SFO Sunday, but airport officials say this weekend before Christmas was the busiest it’s been since Thanksgiving.

“San Francisco and Santa Clara counties now require a 10 day quarantine upon arrival.”

A reminder to travelers at San Francisco International Airport heading to San Francisco and the South Bay.

San Francisco followed Santa Clara County adopting the 10 day quarantine rule.

That applies to anyone coming into the city from outside the Bay Area – including locals who leave and return.

This as COVID cases rise — nationwide.

“I think we need to do whatever we need to do to get back to normal,” Erin Kaye said. “And if it means we have to quarantine and wear the masks then we have to quarantine and wear the masks.”

Kaye and her family flew in from Palm Spring Sunday afternoon. They are staying in Pacifica but plan to isolate there, even though the new travel order does not apply to San Mateo County.

“We’re our own little bubble just me, mom, dad, my husband and the kids and that’s it we’re all in our own little bubble,” she said.

“We got an Airbnb we’re just going to hang out at the Airbnb and just kind of quarantine ourselves and just hang out for Christmas and leave the day after Christmas,” Kaye said.

San Francisco resident David Velasquez just learned about the quarantine order as he was on his way to catch his flight to Colombia.

“Luckily I work from home so that’s not going to be such of a problem,” Velasquez said. “Although I do go out to another location to film and everything but now that you’ve told me that I got to quarantine, I guess I’m going to have to cancel those shoots and just stay at home.”

Airport officials projected 21,000 passengers flew out of SFO Sunday — that’s down from around 85,000 to 92,000 passengers during what’s typically the busiest holiday travel season before the pandemic.

As for enforcement, SFPD says education is key here they’re using the common sense approach – hoping people will do the honor system and will continue to follow health orders but the new travel order is enforceable and could be a misdemeanor – that’s the last resort they don’t want to see.

Below is a statement from SFPD:

We’re utilizing a compassionate, common sense approach. 

We are thankful for the public’s cooperation during this health crisis.  We need the public to adhere to the plan laid out by our city leaders.  That includes social distancing, sheltering in place, and wearing facial coverings.   

Most people have done a good job looking out for their neighbors and following the health orders, and we expect businesses and residents will continue to do that with this order. San Francisco will continue its approach of first educating people about what is required under the health orders, but the City will take additional enforcement steps if the situation demands. 

Violation of or failure to comply with this order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. The order allows for enforcement for non-compliance, but it is a last resort. We do not want to use a criminal justice approach for a public health challenge. This is about first educating the public about voluntary compliance. 

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