In an effort to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, many local governments have instituted, or are considering instituting, “shelter in place” orders. Currently, nearly 7 million people living near San Francisco were ordered to shelter in place, beginning in March.

What Does Sheltering In Place Mean?

Shelter in place orders are just one level below a full lockdown, under which residents would be banned from leaving their homes without express permission.

In San Francisco-area counties the order allows people to leave their homes only for “essential” travel, which includes obtaining medical services or prescriptions, purchasing necessary supplies like food, pet food and toiletries, and traveling to care for a family member. The order also permits residents to partake in outdoor activities, such as hiking, as long as the social distancing requirement of maintaining at least six feet of space is fulfilled. The order also excludes people traveling for necessary work.