How Will Stay-at-Home Order Be Enforced by Police?

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It’s one of the biggest questions as millions of Bay Area residents get used to the shelter-in-place order prompted by the coronavirus pandemic: how will the order be enforced by police? 

The answer depends on where you are, but most authorities seem to say they’ll be using a soft approach.

In San Jose, officers on Tuesday patrolled the streets like any other day. San Jose Police Department Chief Eddie Garcia said officers are not looking to pull people over for violating the order.

“We're not using this ordinance as probable cause to make car stops or pedestrian stops,” Garcia said. “I want to make that clear. And also, I want to make clear that no, no one is going to jail over this either.”

Garcia said his officers will visit bars and restaurants that are in violation. Officers will speak with the owners, but they don’t plan to cite them, even though that is an option.

“I want to make clear to our community that we are not instituting martial law here,” Garcia said.

About 7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area woke up Tuesday to nearly empty highways, shuttered stores and vacant streets after officials issued an order for residents to shelter at their homes and only leave for “essential” reasons in a desperate attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Pete Suratos reports.

In a social media post, the sheriff of San Mateo County issued a similar message.

“We are asking everyone to comply with these restrictions,” San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos said in part. “We fully expect the people of San Mateo County to recognize the seriousness of this public health threat, and we are hopeful that no enforcement action will be necessary.”

Despite the order, some places that shouldn’t be open were still open Tuesday, including a barber shop and a restaurant where people were dining.

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