SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – The new shelter-in-place order for six Bay Area counties was officially released Wednesday, revealing that some coronavirus restrictions will be eased.

The new order goes into effect May 4 and lasts through May 31 for everyone living or working in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara as well as the City of Berkeley.

According to the new order, all construction activities will be permitted, with certain safety protocols in place.

All real estate transactions can also be resumed, with continued restrictions on open houses and limitations on in-person viewings.

Childcare programs can also resume but with some restrictions. There must be no more than 12 children and groups of children cannot crossover. This is mainly for the children of essential workers who must go to work.

“This initial, measured easing of some restrictions is designed to set the stage for a gradual resumption of activity and prevent rapid, exponential growth of cases that could overwhelm hospitals for a particular jurisdiction or the region as a whole,” health officers said in the joint statement.

Certain outdoor businesses can also begin operating again, and people can visit those businesses to perform work or obtain goods, services, or supplies. 

These outdoor businesses include wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers, gardeners, and other businesses that primarily provide outdoor services as set forth in the order. 

Outdoor businesses do not include restaurants, cafes or bars, regardless of whether they have outdoor seating.

Other activities that can resume under the new order include residential moves and the use of certain shared outdoor recreational facilities that were previously ordered closed, like skate parks, but not others that involve shared equipment or physical contact.

“The new order allows us to carefully monitor our progress while building the essential public health infrastructure – such as contact tracing and testing capacity – that will support our gradual reopening and make recovery possible,” said Dr. Tomás Aragon, Health Officer for the City and County of San Francisco.

Officials said the state order remains in effect statewide but when compared to local orders, the stricter rule applies.

Health officers also released indicators that will be used to measure progress in containing the virus.

The indicators include:

  • Whether the total number of cases in the community is flat or decreasing;
  • Whether the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is flat or decreasing;
  • Whether there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for all health care workers;
  • Whether we are meeting the need for testing, especially for persons in vulnerable populations or those in high-risk settings or occupations; and
  • Whether we have the capacity to investigate all COVID-19 cases and trace all of their contacts, isolating those who test positive and quarantining the people who may have been exposed.

The Bay Area has been under shelter-in-place orders since late March.

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