Marin County to Extend Stay-at-Home Order

Author: Mathew Pera

Date: 4/28/2020

Publication: Marin IJ

Marin County’s stay-at-home order will be extended through May, public health officials announced Monday.

Most of the restrictions that have been set on business, travel and gatherings will continue, but the county will issue a new order this week to replace the current one, which is set to expire May 3. It will include “limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities,” according to an announcement.

The new order will be implemented in collaboration with six other Bay Area jurisdictions, including Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, plus the city of Berkeley. Those jurisdictions banded together last month in announcing the initial order to “shelter in place,” which took effect March 17.

Monday’s announcement, issued jointly by the public health officers for those seven Bay Area jurisdictions, did not specify the exact timeline of the new regulations, or which restrictions will be lifted. It served as a notice of the forthcoming order, which is expected later this week.

Counties can set restrictions that are more stringent than those imposed by the state, but the local rules cannot be less restrictive, according to Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis.

Marin’s coronavirus curve is flat, Willis has said, with 224 confirmed cases since the first diagnosis was reported on March 9 and no new positive tests reported Monday. Twelve people diagnosed with the virus have died, 168 have recovered and three were in Marin’s hospitals on Monday. But health officials fear that “prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases,” the announcement said.

The county reported Monday that 3,334 people, or about 1% of Marin’s population, have been tested for the virus. According to Willis, more widespread testing will be needed before restrictions can be eased.

For businesses that have been forced to close during the stay-at-home order, the economic toll continues to mount. Hundreds of workers throughout the county have been laid off, and now face uncertainty over when they will be allowed to return to their jobs.

“This global pandemic of COVID-19 is still in its early stages,” Monday’s announcement said. “The virus spreads easily, testing capacity is limited and expanding slowly, and vaccine development is just beginning. We expect to be responding to COVID-19 in our communities for a long time.”

Also Monday, Safeway officials confirmed a worker in the store at Red Hill Shopping Center in San Anselmo has tested positive for the coronavirus, a company spokeswoman said.

The employee last worked at the store on Tuesday, spokeswoman Wendy Gutshall said in an email. She said the market will stay open, and it has undergone “multiple cycles of our enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and/or disinfecting process since that day.”

The worker’s diagnosis comes after a worker at the Safeway store in the Strawberry Village Shopping Center near Mill Valley tested positive for the virus in March, according to Gutshall, and after a spokeswoman for Whole Foods confirmed last week that workers at the company’s market at 731 E. Blithedale Ave. in Mill Valley have tested positive.

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