Effective December 18, travelers entering San Francisco from outside the Bay Area must quarantine for 10 days—or risk facing a misdemeanor charge, according to a new order from San Francisco’s Department of Public Health.
“San Francisco is experiencing a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, as is the rest of California and the United States. The rise in cases—unless abated—is projected to overwhelm hospitals in the county and in the state within weeks,” the order stated.
With the exception of healthcare and essential workers, anyone traveling or returning to San Francisco from outside the Bay Area (which consists of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma Counties) must quarantine for 10 days without contact with members outside of their household.
The order is currently in place until January 7, 2021, and could be extended if the surge continues.
California, Oregon, and Washington ask travelers to quarantine
San Francisco’s mandatory quarantine order comes a little more than one month after the governors of California, Oregon, and Washington issued a joint statement urging residents to stay close to home and advising against nonessential out-of-state travel.
The governors are asking residents and visitors entering from out of state, including international travelers, to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Los Angeles is requiring all incoming travelers (including all those coming into Los Angeles International Airport, Van Nuys Airport, or Union Station) to fill out an online form, acknowledging that they have read and understood the quarantine request. Failure to submit the form is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
The quarantine orders are in addition to the regional stay-home being rolled out across California as the state battles the current surge. California reported a staggering 52,000 new cases in a single day on December 17—equal to what the entire U.S. was averaging in mid-October—and a one-day record of 379 deaths. More than 16,000 people are in the hospital with the coronavirus across the state, more than triple the number a month ago.
The Western state officials have asked that individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household.
“If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with [the holidays] around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home,” stated Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
The governors asked travelers to refer the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 travel advice, which states that “regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip,” after your trip you should:
- Stay at least six feet from other people who aren’t from your household—both indoors and outdoors.
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when you’re in public.
- Wash your hands often and/or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Monitor your health and look for symptoms of COVID-19—take your temperature if you feel sick.
The Associated Press contributed reporting. This story was originally published on November 13, 2020, and was updated on December 18, 2020, to include current information.