A surge in cases of the novel coronavirus prompted San Francisco officials on Thursday to mandate that anyone traveling to the city from outside the Bay Area to quarantine for a period of time.
The 10-day quarantine will apply to anyone “traveling, moving, or returning to San Francisco from anywhere outside the Bay Area,” according to city officials.
“Limited exceptions apply to people who are traveling for certain critical activities, city officials said in a statement. “The new order also strongly discourages any non-essential travel within the 10-county Bay Area region.”
The mandate takes effect Friday and will remain in effect until at least Jan. 4.
“COVID-19 cases are surging in San Francisco and across the country. Hospitals in the Bay Area are close to being overwhelmed,” San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed said in a statement. “We must do whatever we can to contain the virus and stop its circulation in our community. Now is not the time to travel and risk being exposed or exposing others. We need to do the right thing to protect ourselves, our neighbors and our loved ones and make sure that we can celebrate together when this is over.”
The most recent estimates show that the city has recorded more than 19,600 cases of COVID-19.
Some people are exempted from the quarantine, including medical professionals and first responders.
The news comes after the Bay Area’s ICU capacity fell below 15%, triggering the State of California’s Regional Stay Home order on Wednesday.
“This virus spreads through human interaction and social gatherings, including through people with no symptoms,” Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco director of health, said in a statement. “We need to take steps now to control the spread of the virus and save lives,”. “Quarantining people who have traveled and been in contact with others is one way to help manage the spread of COVID-19.”