City of Berkeley extends shelter-in-place order to May 3

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Update 3/31/2020: This article has been updated to include additional information from the city of Berkeley. 

In a press release Monday, the city of Berkeley announced the extension of the shelter-in-place order to at least May 3.

The press release is a joint statement from seven regional health officers who oversee all jurisdictions in the six Bay Area counties. The shelter-in-place order began March 17 and was intended to remain in place for at least three weeks, or until April 7.

“The Bay Area is fortunate to have a group of dedicated public health leaders, including the City of Berkeley’s, who are working together to address the interconnectedness of our region,” the press release reads.

Health officers have previously said extensions might be expected as the communities work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, colloquially known as the coronavirus, according to the press release.

In an email Tuesday, the city of Berkeley said the extension was enacted to preserve the “critical” hospital capacity across the region.

“Extending the stay-at-home order should reduce the number of sick patients seeking care at one time, giving us time to acquire more medical supplies for providers who will be providing care to people sick with COVID-19,” said Christ Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s health officer, in the email. “The extension will allow doctors and nurses to better treat those who do get sick, and save countless lives.”

The order includes additional prohibited activities and businesses and goes into effect Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Shared recreational facilities, playgrounds, dog parks and picnic areas are to be closed, and sports requiring shared equipment, such as a ball, are limited to people in the same household.

Construction, both residential and commercial, has been halted, and funeral attendance is now capped at 10 people. The order also requires businesses to develop social distancing protocols by April 3.

“While many people have taken on these responsibilities with care and focus, we need to do even better,” said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, the city of Berkeley’s health officer, in the email. “Lives depend on everyone taking action.”

Check here for live updates on the COVID-19 situation in Berkeley.

Contact Kate Finman and Thao Nguyen at [email protected].