San Francisco on Thursday announced a mandatory 10-day quarantine for anyone coming into the city from outside the Bay Area, and it went into effect Friday.
The travel quarantine order, which started at 12:01 a.m. Friday, remains in effect until at least 12:01 a.m. Jan. 4. It applies to returning residents and those moving to the city who spent any time outside the following nearby counties: San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Santa Cruz.
"COVID-19 cases are surging in San Francisco and across the country," Mayor London Breed said in a statement. "Hospitals in the Bay Area are close to being overwhelmed. 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."
Those who have to quarantine have to stay home and not physically interact with others outside their household. They are not allowed to go to work, school or any other place outside their home. They should have food and other essential items delivered to them.
There are some limited exemptions, including for medical professionals, first responders and those with official government business. Travelers passing through San Francisco International Airport and not staying in the city overnight do not have to quarantine. For a full list of exemptions, click here.
Anyone found to be violating the order could face a fine, imprisonment, or both, according to the city.
"Most people have done a good job looking out for their neighbors and following the health orders, and we expect businesses and residents will continue to do that with this order," the city said in a statement on the public health department's website. "San Francisco will continue its approach of first educating people about what is required under the health orders, but the City will take additional enforcement steps if the situation demands.
Thursday's announcement also came with a request for people to refrain from non-essential travel within the Bay Area counties.
For answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to the travel quarantine order, click here.