Nearly everyone in Monterey County is being ordered to stay home starting at midnight tonight.
The shelter-in-place order was issued at about 2:30pm on March 17 by Monterey County Public Health Officer Dr. Ed Moreno following testing that confirmed two local cases of COVID-19.
The order will last from midnight on March 18 until April 8, and is meant to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Temporarily making these drastic changes to our lives and routines maybe frustrating, but it is critical to slowing the spread of this virus,” Moreno said in a statement. “We must weigh the loss of some freedoms we enjoy with the ability to separate healthy people who may not show symptoms from those at risk who may be inadvertently exposed.”
Only businesses and services defined as essential will be allowed to continue operating.
The county said the order is not a complete social shutdown. People are allowed to go outside to buy food and medical supplies and to care for pets. Taking a walk or being outside is allowed as long as people are not in a group. Maintaining distance from others has been deemed essential in the battle against the virus, which has claimed the lives of thousands and could ultimately kill millions, according to projections.
The shelter-in-place order is modeled after an earlier one enacted in the San Francisco Bay Area with additional rules to allow the agriculture industry to continue operating.
The order itself has not yet been published, but is expected later this afternoon. The Weekly will post the complete order and more information later today.