Shelter in Place Explained
This new Order requires that most people continue sheltering in their place of residence. This new Order supplements the prior Shelter-in-Place Order set to expire on May 3, 2020, and includes changes that expand the list of essential business to include construction, childcare providers, certain retailers, golf courses and more.
You are still allowed to participate in “essential activities” or to work for an “essential business” if it is not possible for you to work from home. This means that you are allowed to leave your home for specified reasons—like to make sure you have the necessities of life (discussed more below) such as getting food and medical supplies, or to perform work for an essential business that you cannot complete from your home. You are also allowed to go outside to take care of a pet or for exercise so long as you don’t congregate in a group and maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other people who aren’t part of your family or living unit.
The new Order is in effect starting 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 1, 2020.
This Order does not have an end date. However, the Health Officer expects to revisit the Order periodically, as warranted, to make adjustments.
Yes. The Health Officer may make changes to the new Order as more information emerges about the public health situation and may issue new orders and directives as conditions warrant. Check the County website for updates regularly at www.santacruzcounty.us/coronavirus. The County is working with the media to share important updates and information.
This new Order is in effect throughout the entire County of Santa Cruz, including each City.
This new Order was issued by the Health Officerof the County of Santa Cruz, who has the authority under State law to issue Orders to protect the health and welfare of all County residents.
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 crime (a misdemeanor) not to follow the Order.
No. If your business is covered in the list of essential businesses in the Order, you may operate your business from a facility in the County so long as you create, post, and implement a Social Distancing Protocol for each facility using the template attached to the Order. You do not need to obtain any specific authorization from the County to run your business. The County does not issue written determinations or authorizations. Under the new Order, businesses are required to post these notices, which are found on the www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus> website, under “Public Information.”
No. You do not need to carry official documentation (and the County does not issue any) demonstrating that you are exempt under the new Order. But be prepared to explain if requested by law enforcement why your travel is authorized under the Order.
The term “shelter in place” means to stay in your home and not leave unless necessary for one of the exceptions listed in the Order (discussed more below).
Yes. In addition to the statewide order, the County Health Officer’s Order remains in effect. All residents must comply with the restrictions in both the County and State Orders. If the restrictions in the two orders are different, you must comply with the stricter of the two orders.
Sheltering in place is a more rigorous form of social distancing. Sheltering in place means you:
- Must stay at home
- Can only leave your home for “essential activities,” to work for an “essential business,” to perform “minimum basic operations” for your employer, or for “essential travel,” as those terms are defined in the new Order, and as explained further in these FAQs.
- Cannot host or attend any gatherings.
Social distancing means:
- You should also maintain at least 6 feet of separation from other people who are not in your household,
- wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time (or use hand sanitizer),
- cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve (not into your hands),
- stay home if you are sick.
The new Order includes an additional requirement for social distancing, including wearing a Face Covering in compliance with the April 23, 2020 Order of the Health Officer Generally Requiring Face Coverings
No. For your safety as well as their safety, you are not allowed to visit friends or family members outside your own household. We need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.
No. Under the Shelter-in-Place order, social gatherings with others outside of your household are not allowed. This includes dinner parties, backyard barbecues, graduation parties and other gatherings that place attendees at heightened risk of COVID-19. Under the Governor’s Resilience Roadmap, these gatherings would not be allowed until later stages of the Shelter-in-Place order.
Outside of households and living units, there are only two specific types of gatherings allowed. The first is for funerals, at which up to ten people may gather. The second is for childcare, which may have up to 12 children plus staff, all in a stable group over time and not interacting with other groups.
Yes. Mail and delivery services may continue to operate under the Order.
Yes. The Order allows you to go online, purchase items, and have them delivered to your home.
No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items. Stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will stay open. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally follow. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.
Please contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support. They are allowed to pick up the items you need. You can also order food and other supplies and have them delivered to your home.
No. For your safety as well as the safety of your fellow worshippers, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. Places of worship may offer remote access to services, such as by emails, video streaming, or teleconference.
Support services may be available to you; please call 211 for further information.
Most items can be ordered online and delivered to your home, and many other non-essential items may be available from retailers who primarily sell essential items.
No. No events that bring large numbers of people together are allowed, including but not limited to festivals, concerts, conventions, sporting events or other gatherings. Under the Governor’s Resilience Roadmap, these kinds of events will not be allowed until Stage 4, when the Shelter-in-Place order is lifted. No regulatory or permitting agency should issue any permits for these events until that time. It is unlikely that large events will be allowed in the summer of 2020.
Under the Governor’s Resilience Roadmap, these types of personal services are considered higher risk but may be allowed as early as Stage 3 as long as certain conditions are met. Currently, these types of services are not allowed.
No. Entertainment venues are not allowed to operate.
Yes, but only to pick up food. You cannot dine, eat, or drink in or around the facility. These facilities can also deliver.
Yes, but be sure that you distance yourself at least six feet from others who are not part of your household.
Yes, as long as you maintain the Social Distancing Requirements.
Yes. Please call first to determine if the vet has any restrictions in place.
Restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and similar establishments are encouraged to remain open to supply meals to the public via delivery and carryout. You can also purchase prepared foods at grocery stores, supermarkets, certified farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and other such food retailers.
Schools, soup kitchens, food banks, and other entities that provide free or reduced priced food or meals to the public are encouraged to continue providing these services. You must pick up and take away the food or have it brought to you. Do not eat on the premises. Support services may be available to you; please call 211 for further information.
Yes. The Order exempts travel by court order or law enforcement.
Self-storage facilities are not essential businesses but they can maintain minimum business operations and allow people to access their units to the extent they are accessing them for medical or other essential needs.
Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency. But you can and should seek medical advice if you or a family member is sick. If it is not an emergency, please contact your primary care provider to determine next steps. Also, you can check online resources to help you assess symptoms if you are worried about whether you or a loved one has COVID-19. You should check https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html for more information. Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency. Do not delay seeking treatment during a medical emergency.
Yes. Drug stores and other medical supply stores are allowed and encouraged to operate. When possible, you should have prescription medicines and healthcare supplies delivered to your home.
Yes, if you are a health care provider, your office is encouraged to remain open. Under the Order, many healthcare services are allowed. Health care providers should refer to current State directives and guidance to determine which services they should offer, based on readiness indicators and type of service. Practitioners are still encouraged to conduct appointments remotely via phone or telemedicine when it is appropriate and feasible to do so. We encourage everyone to seek medical care as needed, and to schedule delayed preventive services.
It is also important to note that local orders do not supersede state order, and where the state has issued stricter guidelines for health care operators, the stricter rules apply.
You may continue to use these services if your healthcare provider has determined that they are medically necessary for you.
Yes, mental health appointments can continue. Patients should consult with their practitioners to determine whether it is appropriate and feasible to conduct individual mental health appointments remotely.
All participants in group counseling services must attend meetings remotely if they are equipped to do so. Groups should make accommodations for remote support to the maximum extent feasible.
The following resources are available to help people who may be experiencing distress or heightened anxiety right now:
- 24/7 Behavioral Health Services Department Call Center: (800) 952-2335
- Crisis Line: Call 911 if in immediate danger. Otherwise, call (800) 952-2335
- Suicide and Crisis Hotline 24/7: 1 (800) 273-8255
- If you are experiencing an emergency please call 911 immediately.
Yes, blood banks, blood donation centers, and blood drives are exempt healthcare operations. If you are healthy and do not have COVID-19 symptoms, you are encouraged to donate. The need for adequate blood donations from healthy people is critical.
No. Hospital cafeterias fall within the exemption for healthcare facilities and may remain open. Hospital cafeterias must be structured to ensure six-foot minimum distancing between non-related individuals picking up food from or eating in the facility. Hospital cafeterias should increase cleaning and sanitization to minimize risk of exposure and follow other Social Distancing Requirements specified in the Order to the maximum extent feasible. Cafeterias in all other facilities must follow the requirements in the Order – specifically, food can be carried out or delivered, but cannot be eaten in the cafeteria.
No. The Order exempts any business that is performing work related to the delivery of health care, including companies working on vaccines and testing for COVID-19.
Yes. All employees of hospitals, clinics, and other organizations that provide healthcare, provide services to healthcare organizations, provide needed supplies to healthcare organizations, or otherwise maintain healthcare operations of all kinds may continue working.
The Health Order does not advise or encourage health care workers over 60 to stop reporting to work.
No. “Essential businesses” and additional businesses as specified may keep their facilities open (and are strongly encouraged to keep them open) to continue providing services and products to the public. Employees may leave home to go to these jobs. But all businesses, including essential ones, are required to maximize the number of employees working from home and bring in only those employees who can’t carry out their job duties from home.
Other businesses must cease all activities at their facilities within the County, except to provide minimum basic operations, such as maintaining the value of a business’s inventory, keeping the business site safe and secure, ensuring that employees are able to work remotely, or providing for the delivery of existing inventory to residences or businesses. Employees may otherwise work from home.
The Order specifically lists the “Essential Businesses.”See both the March 31 Health Officer’s Shelter-in-Place Order for the list of Essential Businesses, and the May 1 supplemental order for a list of additional businesses allowed to operate.
Yes, it does, except for the following “Minimum Basic Operations,” which are defined in the following excerpt from the Order:
- The minimum necessary activities to maintain and protect the value of the business’s inventory and facilities; ensure security, safety, and sanitation; process payroll and employee benefits; provide for the delivery of existing inventory directly to residences or businesses; and related functions.
- The minimum necessary activities to facilitate owners, employees, and contractors of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, and to ensure that the business can deliver its service remotely.
Other than to maintain minimum basic operations, your employees can only work remotely from their residences. Any employees who are onsite must strictly follow the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another (unless incompatible with the job duty), frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.
Lodging restrictions remain in effect. Hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, RV parks, campgrounds, and any other short-term lodging businesses are prohibited from providing accommodations to any individual unless that individual is present in the County for the purpose of performing essential services such as law enforcement, emergency response, health care or providing care for an individual.
Prior to providing accommodation, at check-in, all lodging businesses are required to confirm that the basis for the lodging is consistent with the requirements of this Order. Lodging businesses are required to maintain written evidence that each lodger's stay is consistent with the terms of this Order (e.g., written confirmation of the purpose for a guest's stay). This evidence shall be maintained in such a manner that it may be easily audited by law enforcement officers and must be provided to law enforcement officers upon demand.Lodgers, business owners, and business operators are all subject to citation for violation of these restrictions.
No. But most employees of these companies need to work from home. The only employees of these companies who can go to work are: (i) employees who are needed to maintain the minimum basic operations described in the Order; or (ii) employees who are needed to work onsite to operate, maintain, or repair Essential Infrastructure (i.e., essential global, national, and local infrastructure for internet, computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services for the community) and who cannot perform their work duties from home.
Any employees who are onsite must strictly follow the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another (unless incompatible with the job duty), frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.
No. The Order exempts any business that is performing work related to the delivery of health care, including hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists, pharmacies, blood banks and blood drives, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, and veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.
It depends. Your lab may operate only if it performs work that is exempted in the Order. Otherwise, you and your employees are allowed to perform only minimum basic operations onsite at your workplace, and must strictly comply with the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.
Yes, if they provide essential services as described in the Order. This would include non-profits operating food pantries, providing housing for homeless residents, and providing other critical services. Non-profit organizations that do not provide essential services cannot continue operating their facilities, except to provide minimum basic operations, such as maintaining the value of inventory, keeping the site safe and secure, providing for the delivery of existing inventory to residences or businesses, or ensuring that employees are able to work remotely. All employees may also work remotely from their residences.
Unless closer contact is necessary for their work, all employees must strictly comply with the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough. Other than that, employees cannot be onsite at your lab locations.
Businesses that include an Essential Business component at their facilities alongside non-essential components must scale down their in-person operations to the Essential Business component only. For instance, if 20% of manufacturing capacity in your business is devoted to essential products, and 80% of capacity is devoted to non-essential products, you can only operate at 20% capacity. The one exception to this rule is that retail businesses that sell a significant amount of essential products like food, personal hygiene, and consumer household products may keep their entire retail storefronts open even if some of the products they sell are non-essential.
Yes. If your store sells a significant amount of groceries and hygiene products, you can keep your entire store open.
No. If you do not sell a significant amount of goods like food, hygiene, or cleaning products, you cannot keep your storefront open. Your store can deliver items directly to customers’ residences. Other than that, you can only maintain minimum basic operations, such as store security and safeguarding your inventory.
Yes, bike repair shops are treated as an essential business (the same as auto repair shops) because they are necessary to facilitate essential travel.
Yes. Under the new Order, golf is added to list of outdoor recreation activities that may be engaged in, in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements. Golf courses are considered Essential Businesses and may serve the public so long as they can do so while complying with Social Distancing Requirements and other applicable orders. Golf courses must comply with the Golf Site Requirements set forth in Appendix C, “Golf Site Requirements,” which is posted on the www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus website.
Yes, janitorial services are allowed because they are necessary for health and sanitation.
Yes. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other food retail establishments selling foods items and non-alcoholic drinks are encouraged to stay open to provide food items and pet supplies to the public. When visiting these places, you must help the retailer maintain Social Distancing Requirements, including while you are shopping and standing in line.
The cafeteria can operate like other food facilities. It can serve food to the remaining employees, so long as the employees take the food away and do not eat it in the cafeteria. The cafeteria must strictly follow the social distancing requirements in the Order.
You may keep your liquor store open if it also sells products like food, or household cleaning and personal hygiene items.
No. Businesses that supply food goods and prepared meals to grocery stores and other food retailers are essential and may continue operating.
Yes, but only to the extent they support or supply those essential businesses. Warehouses and distribution centers should minimize the number of employees onsite and strictly comply with all social distancing requirements in the Order.
No. Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies they need to operate can remain open only for the purpose of supplying those essential businesses. They cannot stay open to keep making sales to the general public from retail storefronts.
Yes, non-essential businesses may maintain minimum basic operations. This includes making deliveries of existing inventory to people’s homes.
Employees and contractors of any governmental entity may continue to provide the services and products if the governmental entity determines that they are necessary to carry out an essential governmental function.
Under the new Order, arborist, landscaping, gardening services, environmental site remediation and similar service professionals are considered Essential Businesses as long as their work can be performed while complying with Social Distancing Requirements and other applicable orders. In addition, wholesale and retail establishments supporting these activities ( e.g., garden centers, agricultural operations and nurseries) are considered Essential Businesses and may serve the public so long as they can do so while complying with Social Distancing Requirements and other applicable orders, such as Face Coverings requirements.
Home service workers can keep providing services in homes if they are essential to health, safety, sanitation, or the necessary operation of the home. Generally, this means that plumbing, pest control, important maintenance (to, for example, fix a water leak or a faulty wire), or similar services needed to maintain a safe and sanitary home are allowed. Purely cosmetic or other non-essential home services for general upkeep are not allowed and should be put off. Home-based care for children, adults, seniors, and pets is also allowed under the Order.
Service providers like plumbers, electricians, and exterminators can keep working and providing services to the public that are necessary to maintain a livable, sanitary, and functional household. You can call your building manager or one of these service providers, or you can also visit your hardware store to assist with making your own repairs.
Yes, so long as the service is necessary to maintain safety and sanitation. Allowable operations include routine maintenance work like cleaning, chemical balancing and adjustments, and filtration (necessary to, for instance, prevent pool algae from blooming) and safety-oriented repairs.
Under the new order, real estate business activity is allowed to resume as long as it is in compliance with any and all orders issued by the State Public Health Officer or the Governor, and this Order shall be interpreted consistently with such State orders.
You may move residences (re-locate to a new residence); however, when moving into or out of Santa Cruz County, individuals are strongly urged to self-quarantine for 14 days in their new residence upon arrival.
Yes. The Order allows businesses to deliver products to people’s residences.
Yes. Under the new Order, businesses that manufacture, distribute, sell, rent, lease, repair, and maintain vehicles and other transportation equipment (including electric vehicle charging stations) and the supply chains that enable these operations are Essential Businesses, but only to the extent their work can be performed while complying with Social Distancing Requirements and other applicable orders.
Auto repair shops are considered Essential Businesses as well.
Yes, cemeteries are essential infrastructure.
Yes, funeral home providers and mortuaries may continue operating to the extent necessary to the transport, preparation, or processing of remains. This means that any employee necessary for the transport, preparation and/or processing of a body may continue to report to these facilities to conduct their work.
Travel and Recreation
Yes, but public transit, ride-share services, or any other way of traveling can only be used for Essential Travel, which is specifically identified in the order.
When you are on public transit, you must follow the Order’s social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible, including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household or living unit, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.
When you use ride-share services for essential travel, keep in mind that you should avoid as much as possible being in close quarters in a vehicle that has been used by lots of other people.
Yes, you can use shared bikes and scooters for essential travel, such as commuting to work as an essential employee. But keep in mind that shared bikes and scooters are not routinely sanitized. Take precautions, including bringing sanitization wipes, not touching your face while on the bike or scooter, and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds immediately after.
Yes, but only to perform essential activities or essential government functions, operate an essential business, or perform minimum basic operations at a non-essential business, as those terms are defined in the Order. You can also leave to go back home or engage in other essential travel. Otherwise, the answer is no because that puts you and others in the community at risk. Keep in mind that Health Officers in neighboring counties have issued the same or similar shelter-in-place orders.
Yes, the Order allows you to come home.
Yes, you can leave the County to return home.
Yes. The Order allows you to go outside for exercise activities like walking and running, as long as you strictly follow social distancing requirements including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.
Yes. Spending time outside can be beneficial to both physical and mental health. You can go for walks, go to the park, and enjoy other outdoor activities. But operators of parks, beaches, and other open spaces may restrict entry, close certain areas, or close the whole facility altogether to reduce crowding and limit risk of COVID-19 exposure.
While you’re on a hike or enjoying an open space area, you must strictly follow social distancing requirements including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household or living unit, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.
Under the Order, all beaches in the County will be closed from 11 :00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily. However, during the times that beaches are closed, the ocean will remain open for water sports (e.g., surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, paddle-boarding, kayaking, boating, etc.), and individuals may cross beaches in order to access and leave the ocean.
During the times that beaches are open, they are to be used only for running, walking, cycling, water sports, or other form of physical activity. Sitting, lying, standing, sunbathing, sightseeing, picnicking, and all other non-exercise, passive, or sedentary activities at beaches are prohibited.
In addition, the following items are prohibited for use or possession on beaches for the duration of this Order: umbrellas, shade structures, tents, barbeques and grills, coolers, beach chairs, or other conveyances for sitting or lying.
Beach parkways (defined as streets, sidewalks, esplanades, or parks immediately adjacent to or abutting beaches or shoreline areas) should remain open, subject to the discretion of individual facility managers to address over-use, but they may only be used for running, walking, cycling, or other form of physical activity.
Sitting, lying, standing, sunbathing, sight-seeing, picnicking, and all other non-exercise, passive, or sedentary activities on beach parkways are prohibited and may result in a citation.
If you will be outdoors and not in close contact with other people or using equipment that other people outside your household have touched, yes. Otherwise, no. Fitness centers, gyms, recreational centers, fitness equipment at parks, climbing walls, swimming pools, and other shared sports facilities are closed.
No. Recreational areas with equipment that lots of people touch, like playgrounds, must be closed and you cannot use them while the Order is in effect. You can take your kids to the park or other areas to run around in open spaces, or bring your own sports equipment to an open space as long as it is used only by members of your own household and not shared with other people.
No. Pools accessible to more than one household group or living unit are considered public pools. Under the governor’s Resilience Roadmap, public pools are considered higher risk venues along with community centers, playgrounds and picnic areas, and will not be allowed to open until later stages of the Shelter-in-Place order. Until there is new direction from the State, pools available to more than one household or living unit should remain closed.
No. Under the Shelter-in-Place order, people should only congregate with members of their household. Virtual group exercise activities through Zoom or other remote platforms are allowed.