The San Francisco Bay Area will continue to shelter-in-place through the end of May, even as other parts of the U.S. begin to reopen.
Six Bay Area counties— San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin—along with the city of Berkeley are extending their shelter-in-place orders until the end of May.
Hospitalizations in the Bay Area have flattened, local health officials said Monday, but they warned against relaxing social distancing measures too early.
California’s statewide stay-at-home order does not have an end date, leaving the decision up to local officials to lift restrictions on certain activities, such as reopening beaches and golf courses.
The Bay Area counties’ collective decision stands in contrast to other states, such as Georgia, Texas and Tennessee, that are slowly reopening already or will let their stay-at-home orders expire at the end of the month.
Illinois has already extended its shelter-in-place order until the end of May while Virginia currently has the longest one in the country, ending on June 10.
“At this stage of the pandemic, however, it is critical that our collective efforts continue so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved together. Hospitalizations have leveled, but more work is needed to safely re-open our communities. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases,” seven Bay Area health officers said in a joint statement.
San Francisco has avoided becoming a hotspot, earning recognition by national media outlets for its first-in-nation shelter-in-place order that likely prevented a more severe outbreak. But Mayor London Breed has also been criticized for not doing enough to protect the city’s homeless population from the disease. Breed has also been subject to scrutiny for taking credit away from other Bay Area counties and public servants who were more active in the region’s decision to shut down early.
An alliance of states on the West Coast are taking a more cautious approach to reopening. Colorado and Nevada joined the regional effort on Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced.
“The West Coast is — and will continue to be — guided by SCIENCE. We issued our stay at home orders early to keep the public healthy. We’ll open our economies with that same guiding principle,” Newsom tweeted Monday.
New York’s shelter-in-place order expires on May 15, but Governor Andrew Cuomo indicated he will likely extend it for hard-hit areas such as New York City, Westchester and Long Island.