Monterey County Shelter in Place Order: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on March 18th, 2020 by omba

The following is an excerpt from a "Shelter in Place FAQ" document published by Monterey County's Health Department on March 17, 2020. Click here to read the full document.

What to do
Effective midnight, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Health Officer of Monterey County is requiring people to stay home except for essential needs. The intent of this order is to ensure the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible.

Vulnerable populations including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions must stay home. All community members should stay home except to perform essential duties for business continuity or government functions, to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or perform activities related to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during this time.

It is OK to go outside for walks if you are not in a group and practice proper social distancing.

This order is in effect until Midnight, April 8, 2020. It may be extended depending on recommendations from public health officials.

Why are we doing this?
This is a critical intervention to reduce harm from the spread of the coronavirus in our community. This is a mandatory order enforceable by a fine or jail.

Now is the time to do everything we can to prevent the situation from getting much worse in a matter of days or weeks. Every hour counts. We need and appreciate the cooperation of everyone who lives and works in Monterey County to act immediately.

While this news may feel alarming, it is a necessary step to prevent a worsening situation. The patterns of the virus around the world, and in our own state, tell us that moving right now to maximize social distancing and restrict people gathering is the best way to fight the virus and save lives.

What can I do? What's open?
These essential services will remain open:
**City/County government services: Police/Sheriff stations, fire stations, hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations, jails, garbage/sanitation, transportation, utilities (water, power and gas) and most offices
**Gas stations
**Pharmacies
**Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
**Hardware stores/plumbers/ electricians and those who provide services necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
**Banks
**Community benefit organizations on a case-by-case basis
**Laundromats/laundry services
**Cemeteries

What's closed?
**Dine-in restaurants
**Bars and nightclubs
**Entertainment venues
**Gyms and fitness studios

What can't I do?
**You cannot engage in group activities in person with others.
**You cannot have dinner parties. You cannot invite friends over to your home to hang out.
**You cannot go to bars or nightclubs.
**You cannot go to a nail salon or get your hair cut by a stylist or barber.
**You cannot go shopping for non-essential goods.
**You cannot take unnecessary trips on public transport or in your car or motorbike.

Where does this apply?
This is in effect throughout all of Monterey County including all cities, towns and unincorporated areas.

Is this mandatory or is it just guidance?
It is mandatory. This Order is a legal Order issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply, and it is a misdemeanor crime not to follow the order (although the intent is not for anyone to get into trouble).

It is critical for everyone to follow the Order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves, their loved ones, friends, neighbors and the whole community.

All persons, businesses, and other entities are required to comply if they do not fall within the exemptions that are specified in the Order.

What if I need to get healthcare from my medical provider?
You can still get your health needs addressed. Essential travel includes exemptions for medical appointments and services such as dialysis.

It is advisable to contact your health care provider to see if they are providing regular services. Some services, especially elective procedures, may be postponed or canceled.

If you are feeling sick, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency.

Can I still get deliveries from online stores?
Yes. The mail and other delivery services to your home can continue to function, as can food delivery services.

How will I get food and medicines I need if I must stay in my home?
The Order specifically allows people to leave their home to buy food, purchase medicine, and purchase other necessary items. It also directs businesses selling those items to remain open and allows employees of those businesses to keep working and to ensure those businesses are operating.

Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?
No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items whenever you need them, as stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open.

Continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally do. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.

View the entire FAQ document here.

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