Note: Updates to the FAQs may be issued periodically, with the most recent updates reflected in blue text. Please check back for updates.
To slow and decrease the spread of COVID-19, Alameda County is issuing an updated legal order directing residents to shelter at home with some exceptions. The order limits activity, travel, and business functions to only the most essential needs. Governor Newsom issued a similar statewide order on March 19, 2020 that directed all Californians to stay home except to go to an essential job or to shop for essential needs; and on May 4, 2020 and May 7, 2020 Orders informing local health jurisdictions and industry sectors that they may gradually reopen under the new modifications and guidance provided by the State. These Orders remain in effect in Alameda County, with the local order prevailing in areas where it is more restrictive than the order issued by the State.
Download FAQs (PDF): ENGLISH
Download Appendix A (Word): ENGLISH
Download Appendix B-1 (PDF): ENGLISH | SPANISH | CHINESE (SIMPLIFIED) | CHINESE (TRADITIONAL)| FARSI | KOREAN | ARABIC | VIETNAMESE
Download Appendix B-2 (PDF): ENGLISH | SPANISH | CHINESE (SIMPLIFIED) | CHINESE (TRADITIONAL)| FARSI | KOREAN | ARABIC | VIETNAMESE
Download Appendix C (PDF): ENGLISH
Frequently Asked Questions
For most people, this means you and those you live with should remain at home. You may leave your home for specified reasons to make sure you have the necessities of life such as getting food and medical supplies.
You may go outside to take care of pets, go on a walk, and exercise outside, so long asyou do not congregate in a group and maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other people.
If you are sick you should self-isolate, including, to the extent you can, from others you live with. Visit http://www.acphd.org/ for information about COVID-19 symptoms andto learn how to protect yourself.
This new Order replaces the May 4 Shelter in Place Order as of 8 a.m. on May 18, 2020. This updated Order requires that most people continue sheltering in their place of residence. It allows additional businesses to open that could not operate under the May 4 Order and some low-risk activities to resume.
You are still allowed to participate in “essential activities,” “outdoor activities,” and “additional activities”; and/or to work for an “essential business,” “outdoor business,” “additional business,” or perform “minimum basic operations” if it is not possible for you to work from home. This means that you are allowed to leave your home for specified reasons—like to make sure you have the necessities of life such as getting food and medical supplies, or to perform work for an essential business that you cannot complete from your home. You are also allowed to go outside to take care of a pet or for exercise so long as you wear a face covering, don’t congregate in a group, and maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other people who aren’t part of your household or living unit.
Please read the Order for more information.
As of 8 a.m. on May 18, 2020, everyone in the County must strictly follow this new Order. This new Order will continue to be in effect until it is rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer based on (1) COVID-19 Indicators progress; (2) developments in epidemiological and diagnostic methods for tracing, diagnosing, treating, or prevention for COVID-19; and (3) scientific understanding of the transmission dynamics and clinical impact of COVID-19.
The order issued by the Governor is a statewide order, and local orders may be more restrictive. The State order and new stay-at-home order will remain in effect in Alameda County. Where a conflict exists between this Order and any state public health order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most restrictive provision controls.
Yes, it is mandatory. These Orders are a legal Order issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply, and it is a crime (a misdemeanor with up to $1,000 in fines or six months imprisonment) not to follow the Orders (although the intent is not for anyone to get into trouble).
It is critical for everyone to follow the Orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves, their loved ones, friends, neighbors, and the whole community. All persons, businesses, and other entities are required to comply if they do not fall within the exemptions that are specified in the Orders.
This Order is issued based on evidence of continued significant community transmission of COVID-19 within the County and throughout the Bay Area; continued uncertainty regarding the degree of undetected asymptomatic transmission; scientific evidence and best practices regarding the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable diseases generally and COVID-19 specifically; evidence that the age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population of the County places it at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19; and further evidence that others, including younger and otherwise healthy people, are also at risk for serious outcomes.
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease in the general public, which is now a pandemic according to the World Health Organization, there is a public health emergency throughout the County. Making the problem worse, some individuals who contract the virus causing the COVID-19 disease have no symptoms or have mild symptoms, which means they may not be aware they carry the virus and are transmitting it to others. Further, evidence shows that the virus can survive for hours to days on surfaces and be indirectly transmitted between individuals. Because even people without symptoms can transmit the infection, and because evidence shows the infection is easily spread, gatherings and other direct or indirect interpersonal interactions can result in preventable transmission of the virus.
The intent of these Orders is to ensure that people remain in their residences and minimize social interactions outside of their immediate household unit. However, you may leave your residence for reasons specified in the Alameda County Order. These reasons include ensuring the health and safety of yourself and your family, engaging in outdoor activity that does not involve close contact with other people, obtaining services and supplies for yourself and your family, and to perform employment functions that are permissible under the Alameda County Order.
Thanks to the collective effort and sacrifice of the 7 million residents across the Bay Area, we have made progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, ensuring our hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases and saving lives. This progress allows a limited number of additional businesses to reopen, so long as they strictly comply with social distancing requirements and other protections in the Order.
However, at this stage of the pandemic, we need to maintain most of the restrictions of shelter-in-place so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved. Lifting too many restrictions too soon could easily lead to a large surge in cases and result in avoidable hospitalizations and deaths, and it may also lead to longer-term economic harms.
This is a legally enforceable order issued under California law. It is a crime to violate these Orders, and you may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for doing so.
Alameda County Public Health Department website:
California COVID-19 Response website:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website:
Higher Risk Populations
California has launched multiple initiatives to support older Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors
- This program will enlist community restaurants to prepare meals that will be delivered to older Californians who are isolating at home and who are ineligible for other nutrition programs during California’s stay at home order. Click here for updated information about participating localities.
- Friendship Line California: 1-888-670-1360
- This program will support lonely and isolated older Californians across the state. Friendship Line California is toll-free and available to provide emotional support to older Californians facing loneliness, isolation and anxiety.
Shelter in Place & Social Distancing
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands).
- Avoid groups (stay at least six feet away from others).
- Reduce the time you are around others outside the home, even when at least six feet away.
- Wear a face covering when out in public, as required by the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order, except if a face covering is not required for you (e.g., for children 12 years of age and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance).
- Must stay home.
- Can only leave your home for: “essential activities,” “outdoor activities,” or “additional activities”; to work for an “essential business,” “outdoor business,” or “additional business”; to provide or access “essential governmental functions”; to perform “minimum basic operations” for your employer; or for “essential travel,” as those terms are defined in the new Order.
- Cannot host or attend any gatherings, except as specified in the Order or these FAQs.
Enforcement & Compliance
For enforcement questions, please contact COVID19compliance@acgov.org.
Call 911 or go to an emergency room only if you are experiencing a medical emergency. If you need to go to the hospital, call ahead so they can prepare for your arrival. If you need to call 911, tell the 911 operator the exact symptoms you are experiencing so the ambulance provider can prepare to treat you safely.
You can still get your health needs addressed. You should contact your healthcare provider to see if they are providing regular services. If you are feeling sick, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency.
Under the Order, all medical services, including routine and preventive care, are considered essential. This includes, but is not limited to, mental health services, immunizations, well-woman exams, allergy shots, eye exams, physical therapy, and surgeries. Preventive and non-urgent care should generally not be deferred. If possible, health care visits should be done remotely.
Contact your health care provider to see what services they are providing. For health care providers, please read this advisory for guidance.
- 24/7 Behavioral Health Services Department Call Center: (800) 491-9099
- Crisis Text Line: Text RENEW to 741741
- Crisis Support Services Suicide Prevention – (800) 309-2131
- Crisis Support Services Text Line – text "safe" to 20121 between 4:00p.m. and 11:00 p.m. 7 days a week
- Nationwide Hotline – (800) 273-TALK or (800) 273-8255
Yes. Drug stores, licensed cannabis retailers, and other medical supply stores are allowed and encouraged to operate. When possible, you should have prescription medicines and healthcare supplies delivered to your home.
You may continue to use these services if your healthcare provider has determined that they are medically necessary for you.
Yes, blood banks, blood donation centers, and blood drives are exempt healthcare operations. If you are healthy and do not have COVID-19 symptoms, you are encouraged to donate. The need for adequate blood donations from healthy people is critical.
No. The Order exempts any business that is performing work related to the delivery of health care, including companies working on vaccines and testing for COVID-19.
Groceries & Medicine/Prescriptions & Basic Necessities
Yes. The Order allows licensed cannabis businesses to deliver products to people’s residences as long as your local jurisdiction allows it.
Yes. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other food retail establishments selling foods items and non-alcoholic drinks are encouraged to stay open to provide food items and pet supplies to the public. Section 6 of the Order requires all businesses allowed to operate under the Order to follow any industry-specific requirements issued by the Health Officer related to COVID-19. The Health Officer’s requirements for essential retail and grocery stores, essential workers, and food facilities can be found here.
When visiting these places, you must help the retailer maintain Social Distancing Requirements, including while you are shopping and standing in line.
The May 18, 2020 shelter-in-place order allows all retailers to sell goods for curbside/storefront pickup, whether or not they are considered “essential”. The Order also permits travel to these businesses for the purpose of curbside/storefront pickup.
Yes, you can go to the bank and other financial institutions such as check cashers, money lenders, and pawn shops; but you should minimize unnecessary trips.
In addition to banks and credit unions, money remittance services, financing services at pawn shops, check cashing services, money lenders, and similar financial institutions can operate. For businesses that mix a financial service component with a retail or other component, only the financial service can be open.
Restaurants & Meals
If you are in need of food, please call the Alameda County Community Food Bank’s Emergency Food Helpline at 1-510-635-3663.
You can also visit Alameda County’s COVID-19 Food Distribution, Testing, and Services map website for available resources: http://www.acgov.org/maps/food-services.htm
Transportation & Travel
Yes, but public transit, ride-share services, or any other way of traveling can only be used for Essential Travel, which means (see section 15.i):
- Travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, Minimum Basic Operations, Outdoor Activities, Outdoor Businesses, Additional Activities, and Additional Businesses.
- Travel to care for any elderly, minors, dependents, or persons with disabilities.
- Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
- Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the County.
- Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
- Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.
- Travel to manage after-death arrangements and burial.
- Travel to arrange for shelter or avoid homelessness.
- Travel to avoid domestic violence or child abuse.
- Travel for parental custody arrangements.
- Travel to a place to temporarily reside in a residence or other facility to avoid potentially exposing others to COVID-19, such as a hotel or other facility provided by a governmental authority for such purposes.
When you are on public transit, you must follow the Order’s social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible, including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household or living unit; frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes; wearing a face covering when out in public, as required in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order, except if a face covering is not required for you (e.g., for children ages 12 and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).
When you use ride-share services for essential travel, keep in mind that you should avoid as much as possible being in close quarters in a vehicle that has been used by lots of other people.
Yes, you can use shared bikes and scooters for essential travel, such as commuting to work as an essential employee. But keep in mind that shared bikes and scooters are not routinely sanitized. Take precautions, including bringing sanitization wipes, not touching your face while on the bike or scooter, and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds immediately after.
Yes. Bike repair and supply shops are treated as an essential business (the same as auto repair shops) because they are necessary to facilitate essential travel.
No. You do not need to carry official documentation (and the County does not issue any) demonstrating that you are exempt under the new Order. But be prepared to explain if requested by law enforcement why your travel is allowable under the Order.
Yes, but only to perform essential activities, outdoor activities or limited additional activities, to maintain essential government functions, to operate an essential business, outdoor business or limited additional business, or to perform minimum basic operations at a non-essential business, as those terms are defined in the Order. You can also leave to go back home or engage in other essential travel. Otherwise, the answer is no because that puts you and others in the community at risk. Keep in mind that Health Officers in neighboring counties have issued the same or similar shelter in place orders, which you will be subject to while in that jurisdiction. That means that the neighboring county can enforce violations against you.
Visiting or Returning to Alameda County
Yes, the Order allows you to come home.
Yes, you can leave the County to return home.
Caring for/Visiting Others
You may visit a hospital or other healthcare facility only for the purpose of obtaining health care services and supplies. Non-essential visitations are barred. Do not visit a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or residential care facility other than for the purpose of securing care. People over 60 years of age are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
If you need to know more, please contact the facility you want to visit by phone before you visit to inquire about the status of visits. This is difficult, but it is necessary in order to protect hospital staff, your loved ones and other patients.
No. For your safety as well as their safety, you are not allowed to visit friends or family members outside your own household. We need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.
Schools & Childcare & Home-Based Care
This Order requires that schools generally stop holding classes at physical locations within the County. However, schools are encouraged to provide distance learning to their students and to provide free and reduced-price lunches for takeaway or by delivery. The Order also allows schools to provide care or supervision of children to enable personnel to work for businesses allowed to operate under this Order or work as essential governmental employees, provided that: (1) children are in stable groups of 10 or fewer; (2) children do not change from one group to another; (3) multiple groups in a facility stay in separate rooms; and (4) providers or educators remain solely with one group.
Schools are subject to special requirements and restrictions, please visit the California Department of Education website for more information at: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/coronavirus.asp
Schools may allow their employees to come to work to support any continuing free and/or reduced price-meals and other essential services. Please check with your local school districts about the availability of such programs.
Childcare establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions or programs providing care or supervision for children of all ages that enable owners, employees, volunteers, and contractors for Essential Businesses, Essential Governmental Functions, Outdoor Businesses, Additional Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations to work as allowed under this Order. To the extent possible, these operations must comply with the following conditions:
- They must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
- * Note: The Alameda County Shelter in Place Order specifies a group size of 12. However, if a childcare establishment is licensed by the California Community Care Licensing Division (CCCL), they recommend a group size of 10. The Alameda County Public Health Department is also recommending the smaller (more restrictive) group size for CCCL licensed facilities.
For additional guidance around childcare facilities such as infection control, visit http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov/resources/childcare-schools-colleges.aspx
If you work for an Essential Business or provide Essential Governmental Functions, as described in the Order, you can and should continue to work. Certain employers, schools, and community organizations will be providing childcare/daycare for employees of essential businesses.
Essential workers searching for childcare can connect with Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to find care. Visit First 5 Alameda County for more information.
The Order allows nannies and childcare providers caring for a child in the child’s own home to continue working.
Home Repair, Housekeeping & Landscaping
Home service workers can keep providing services in homes if they are essential to health, safety, sanitation, or the necessary operation of the home. This includes plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other services needed to maintain a safe and sanitary home. Home construction and repair work is also allowed, as is home-based care for children, adults, seniors, and pets.
Service providers like plumbers, electricians, and exterminators can keep working and providing services to the public that are necessary to maintain a livable, sanitary, and functional household. You can call your building manager or one of these service providers, or you can also visit your hardware store to assist with making your own repairs.
Yes. Arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals can operate as outdoor businesses, as that term is defined in the Order, but they must strictly comply with social distancing requirements.
Recreation, Entertainment, Weddings, Social & Religious Activities
- Gathering must be held outdoors, and must be by invitation only
- Gatherings of more than 10 cars must have on-site security, requested either through local law enforcement or a private security firm; hosts with their own security on staff may use that security
- Security should ensure compliance with this order, as well as social distancing and face covering requirements
- Parking arrangement must accommodate physical distancing and allow for both emergency exit from each vehicle, and emergency vehicle access to the site
- Each gathering is limited to no more than 200 vehicles and can be no longer than 3 hours
- Occupants of the car:
- Must be of the same household or living unit
- Must wear face coverings if the windows are open
- Must always remain in the car, except to go to the restroom (if one is provided) or for the receipt of a significant document, like a diploma
- May not linger/socialize with occupants of other cars if outside the car
- No food or drink sales or distribution are permitted at the event
- Develop a Gathering Plan
- Gathering planners must apply for any jurisdictional permits, and be prepared to share their gathering plan with local law enforcement or any private security
If you will be outdoors and not in close contact with other people or using equipment that other people outside your household have touched, yes. Otherwise, no. Fitness centers, gyms, fitness equipment at parks, climbing walls, swimming pools, and other recreational and fitness facilities with equipment that lots of people touch or areas where people gather close together are closed.
Yes. The Order allows you to go outside for exercise activities like walking and running, as long as you strictly follow social distancing requirements including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes wearing a face covering when out in public, as required in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order, except if a face covering is not required for you (e.g., for children 12 years of age and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).
Yes. Spending time outside improves mood and well-being, and is particularly beneficial to children. You can go for walks, go to the park, and enjoy other outdoor activities. But operators of parks, beaches, and other open spaces may restrict entry, close certain areas, or close the whole facility altogether if the Health Officer orders those measures to reduce crowding and limit risk of COVID-19 exposure.
While you’re on a hike or enjoying an open space area, you must strictly follow social distancing requirements including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household or living unit, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face covering when out in public, as required in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order, except if a face covering is not required for you (e.g., for children 12 years of age and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).
Yes, if physical distancing is maintained when on your walks and in parks to avoid spread of the virus. If non-compliance is noted in some trails or parks, they may be closed down or closed to vehicle access.
Each governmental entity can make a determination regarding the restrictions on public access to parks, beaches, and open spaces necessary to maintain social distancing.
No. Entertainment venues like these are not permitted to be open in Alameda County during this Order. However, drive-in theatres are allowed if they meet the conditions identified in the highly regulated vehicle-based gatherings Order.
You can take your kids to the park or other areas to run around in open spaces, or bring your own sports equipment to an open space as long as it is used only by members of your own household and not shared with other people. Recreational areas with equipment that lots of people touch or areas where people gather close together, like playgrounds, picnic areas, barbecue areas, and dog parks, must be closed and you cannot use them while the Order is in effect.
No. All recreational areas with high-touch equipment and surfaces, or that encourage gathering must be closed, including but not limited to playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment, picnic areas, barbecue areas, swimming pools, spas, and dog parks.
Sports with shared equipment or physical contact, like kicking a soccer (not in groups), throwing a football, throwing a baseball/softball, volleyball (singles), and badminton (singles) may only be played with members of your same household or living unit.
We will carefully monitor any changes to the State Shelter Order. In the event the State relaxes restrictions on additional outdoor recreation, the Health Officer will consider whether to similarly relax the restrictions imposed by this Order.
Yes, golf courses can reopen and social distancing must be maintained. Golfers should participate as singles, unless they are golfing with other members of their household. If the State has more restrictive conditions, golf courses must comply with those restrictions. Visit the State’s FAQs at https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/ to view what is permitted with golfing.
No. For apartment dwellers and residential communities, the Order’s shelter in place requirements for the “household or living unit” means their own apartment or housing unit, not the building, complex, or residential community as a whole. Common recreational spaces shared with others in the apartment building, complex, or residential community, like gyms, barbecue areas, pools, and roof decks, must be closed like any other public recreational space that contains high-touch equipment or encourages gathering.
Apartment residents should be allowed to access facilities that are required for household cleaning and sanitation needs. Owners of apartment buildings must enhance cleaning of high-touch surfaces in these areas, and residents must observe all social distancing requirements in the Order, including: maintaining at least 6 feet of separation from other people who are not part of their own household; washing their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time (or using hand sanitizer); coughing or sneezing into a tissue or sleeve (not their hands); wearing a face covering when out in public, as required in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order, except if a face covering is not required (e.g., for children 12 years of age and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding using the shared facility if they are sick.
Last rites are permitted for non-COVID-19 and non-suspect COVID-19 people. For COVID-19 and COVID-19 suspected cases, last rites must be performed virtually or by phone. A priest can arrange with the health care provider to take the holy oil/water from the priest and administer it to the patient’s forehead. However, it is up to the health care provider to determine if it is feasible to administer the holy oil/water.
Mail & Package Deliveries
Yes. Mail and delivery services may continue to operate under the Order.
Yes. The Order allows you to go online, purchase items, and have them delivered to your home.
Yes, but you cannot use dog parks. Be sure that you distance yourself at least six feet from others who are not part of your household. Also note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance advising that you should treat pets as you would your human family members – do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside your household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.
No. Dog parks are close because they are areas encourage people to gather together. Also as noted above, CDC has advised that pets should not interact with other pets or people outside the household.
Yes. You can go to the vet or pet hospital if your pet is sick. Remember to distance yourself at least six feet from other pets and owners and wear a face covering.
Please call first to determine if the vet has any restrictions in place.
Yes, but only for medically-necessary services and procedures.
Moving, Storage & Short-Term Rentals
Yes with conditions. Under the County’s Order, short-term rentals can likely still operate to a limited extent, but renters should only use short-term rentals when necessary to essential activities. For example, if a person had to travel to the County to help build a hospital, the person could stay in a short-term rental. Another example of an allowed rental would be if a person needed to leave their home for their safety, e.g., domestic violence. Hosts should make clear to potential guests that vacations and leisure travel are not allowed under the County’s Order. Hosts should take all reasonable measures to avoid renting to individuals displaying signs of illness and should also deep-clean/disinfect between rentals.
Funeral Services & Operations
Yes, funeral home providers and mortuaries may continue operating to the extent necessary to the transport, preparation, or processing of remains. This means that any employee necessary for the transport, preparation and/or processing of a body may continue to report to these facilities to conduct their work.
Government & Non-Profit Organizations
Governmental entities are strongly encouraged to complete Social Distancing Protocols for each of their facilities that remain open for any essential governmental functions, though the Order does not require them to do so. Just as with private businesses, Social Distancing Protocols assist governments in implementing risk reduction measures identified by the Health Officer, ensure that government agency staff and community members accessing government services are protected, and inform government employees and members of the public visiting the facilities about their respective responsibilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Each department or agency continuing to perform essential governmental functions at the workplace is encouraged to complete and implement a Social Distancing Protocol for its facilities, post the protocol where it is publicly visible, and distribute the protocol to its employees.
No. Essential government functions will continue, including first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, and law enforcement. Other government functions or offices may be subject to reduced schedules or may be closed as part of the effort to fight the spread of COVID-19. Each government agency identifies the services that qualify as essential governmental functions, and designates the personnel who will continue providing those functions.
As a government employee, you can continue to go to work if your employer designates you as an essential employee. Each government agency is responsible for determining which of its workers are essential workers.
Essential Workers & Businesses (General Information)
For a non-exhaustive list of businesses that can reopen and those that must remain closed at this time, please visit: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov/covid-recovery.aspx
The following excerpt from the Order lists the “Essential Businesses” (see section 15.f of the Order):
Healthcare Operations and businesses that operate, maintain, or repair Essential Infrastructure;
- Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of unprepared food, canned food, dry goods, non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, as well as hygienic products and household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene or the habitability, sanitation, or operation of residences. The businesses included in this subparagraph (ii) include establishments that sell multiple categories of products provided that they sell a significant amount of essential products identified in this subparagraph, such as liquor stores that also sell a significant amount of food.
- Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
- Construction, but only as permitted under the State Shelter Order and only pursuant to the Construction Safety Protocols listed in Appendices B1 and B2 and incorporated into the Order by reference. Public works projects shall also be subject to Appendices B1 and B2, except if other protocols are specified by the Health Officer;
- Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
- Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair (including, but not limited to, for cars, trucks, motorcycles and motorized scooters), and automotive dealerships, but only for the purpose of providing auto-supply and auto-repair services. This subparagraph (vii) does not restrict the on-line purchase of automobiles if they are delivered to a residence or Essential Business;
- Bicycle repair and supply shops;
- Banks and money remittance services, financing services at pawn shops, check cashing services, money lenders, and similar financial institutions. For businesses that mix a financial service component with retail or other component, only the financial service can be open;
- Service providers that enable real estate transactions (including rentals, leases, and home sales), including, but not limited to, real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries, and title companies, provided that appointments and other residential viewings must only occur virtually or, if a virtual viewing is not feasible, by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit (except that in person visits are not allowed when the occupant is present in the residence);
- Hardware stores;
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation, and/or operation of residences and Essential Businesses;
- Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
- Educational institutions—including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing essential functions, performing COVID-19 related medical or sociological research, or as allowed under subparagraph xxvi, provided that social distancing of six feet per person is maintained to the greatest
- Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers;
- Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
- Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries, and crematoriums, to the extent necessary for the transport, preparation, or processing of bodies or remains;
- Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate, but only to the extent that they support or supply these Essential Businesses. This exemption shall not be used as a basis for engaging in sales to the general public from retail storefronts;
- Businesses that have the primary function of shipping or delivering groceries, food, or other goods directly to residences or businesses. This exemption shall not be used to allow for manufacturing or assembly of non-essential products or for other functions besides those necessary to the delivery operation;
- Airlines, taxis, rental car companies, rideshare services (including shared bicycles and scooters), and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
- Home-based care for seniors, adults, children, and pets;
- Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
- Professional services, such as legal, notary, or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with non-elective, legally required activities or in relation to death or incapacity;
- Services to assist individuals in finding employment with Essential Businesses;
- Moving services that facilitate residential or commercial moves that are allowed under this Order; and
- Childcare establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions or programs providing care or supervision for children of all ages that enable owners, employees, volunteers, and contractors for Essential Businesses, Essential Governmental Functions, Outdoor Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations to work as allowed under this Order. To the extent possible, these operations must comply with the following conditions:
- They must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
- Children shall not change from one group to another.
- If more than one group of children is at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.
- Providers or educators shall remain solely with one group of children.
The Health Officer will carefully monitor the changing public health situation as well as any changes to the State Shelter Order. In the event that the State relaxes restrictions on childcare and related institutions and programs, the Health Officer will consider whether to similarly relax the restrictions imposed by this Order.
An “outdoor business” is any business that normally operated primarily outdoors before March 16, 2020. Such businesses may reopen so long as they can provide for full social distancing between persons. For retail businesses, this means that more than 50% of the total floor area regularly used for product sales was outdoors before March 16, 2020. The Order provides some examples of common outdoor businesses, such as plant nurseries, agricultural operations, and landscaping and gardening services. Outdoor businesses, including outdoor retail businesses, must conduct all business and transactions involving members of the public in outdoor spaces. This means that if an outdoor business includes an indoor facility or indoor portion of its retail space that typically serves the public, that indoor facility or indoor portion of retail space must be closed to the public and all sales must take place outdoors. Employees may continue to use the indoor space as necessary and may bring products outdoors for the public. Outdoor businesses must comply with the Order’s social distancing requirements and post a social distancing protocol.
This Order allows limited “additional businesses” to reopen as follows:
- Retail stores for curbside/storefront pickup and delivery
- Logistics and warehousing
Please review the Order and Appendix C1 for more details
No. “Essential businesses,” “outdoor businesses, “and “additional businesses” may keep their facilities open and continue providing their services and products to the public. Employees may leave home to go to these jobs. But all businesses, including essential, outdoor, and additional ones, are required to maximize the number of employees working from home and bring in only those employees who cannot carry out their job duties from home. Businesses that are not “essential businesses,” “outdoor businesses,” and “additional businesses” as those terms are defined in the Order, must cease all activities at their facilities within the County, except to provide minimum basic operations, such as maintaining the value of a business’s inventory, keeping the business site safe and secure, ensuring that employees are able to work remotely, or providing for the delivery of existing inventory to residences or businesses.
Essential Workers & Businesses (For Employers)
Please review the Alameda County Shelter in Place Order for more information.
No. Your business is not required to submit your plan to Alameda County for approval. You should, however, prepare, post, implement, and distribute to Personnel a written Site-Specific Protection Plan. Please read the Shelter in Place Order and appendices to determine which appendix you must implement and any required State industry guidance.
We can provide guidance and technical assistance if needed. Please email COVIDRecovery@acgov.org or visit http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov/covid-recovery.aspx for more information.
Essential businesses and outdoor businesses in Alameda County are required to create a tailored “Social Distancing Protocol” explaining how the business will comply with social distancing requirements, post it at the public entrance in plain sight, and produce it when requested by a governmental agency, including law enforcement.
The Social Distancing Protocol must be updated from prior versions to address new requirements listed in this Order or in related guidance or directives from the Health Officer. The form is attached to the Order as Appendix A. View the Order for more details about this requirement.
Social distancing requirements for businesses include:
- Limiting the number of people who can enter into the store (for Essential Businesses) as necessary to ensure that customers can easily maintain six-foot distance from one another; Outdoor or Additional Businesses may not permit customer entry and must ensure that customers on-site can be limited to a number that allows easy maintenance of the required six-foot distancing.
- Providing stations with hand sanitizer or similar disinfectant to the public at entrance and throughout the facility.
- Marking six-foot increments in all queuing areas.
- Placing signs at entrance advising customers to maintain six-foot distance from one another and to wear face coverings.
No employee who can perform their customary employment duties remotely shall be required to report to the facility.
Visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for additional social distancing measures for businesses.
Yes, it does, except for the following “Minimum Basic Operations,” which are defined in the following excerpt from section 15.g of the Order:
- The minimum necessary activities to maintain and protect the value of the business’s inventory and facilities; ensure security, safety, and sanitation; process payroll and employee benefits; provide for the delivery of existing inventory directly to residences or businesses; and related functions. For clarity, this section does not permit businesses to provide curbside pickup to customers.
- The minimum necessary activities to facilitate owners, employees, and contractors of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, and to ensure that the business can deliver its service remotely.
Other than to maintain minimum basic operations, your employees can only work remotely from their residences. Any employees who are onsite must strictly follow the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another (unless incompatible with the job duty), frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face covering, as required in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order, except if a face covering is not required for them (e.g., anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).
You must also prepare, post, and implement a social distancing protocol (see section 16.h and Appendix A of the Order) for any facility where you are carrying out minimum basic operations, and you must provide a copy of that protocol to each employee.
Only auto dealerships that qualify as “outdoor business,” as that term is defined in the Order, may serve retail customers from their facilities. (All auto dealerships may provide supply and repair services).
Yes, but they cannot sell or lease cars in person.
If you serve food, you must do so by takeaway or delivery only. You must also post, implement, and distribute a Social Distancing Protocol, which has been updated to require that face coverings are worn by all employees and patrons in your facility (except those for whom face coverings are not required, like very young children).
Follow the best practices for allowable food facility operations included in the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health’s “COVID-19 Guidance Document for Food Facilities”. This information is available in multiple languages, visit the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health’s website for more information.
The cafeteria can operate like other food facilities. It can serve food to the remaining employees, so long as the employees take the food away and do not eat it in the cafeteria. The cafeteria must strictly follow the social distancing requirements in the Order.
Yes, but only to the extent they support or supply those essential businesses. Warehouses and distribution centers should minimize the number of employees onsite and strictly comply with all social distancing requirements in the Order. See Appendix C-1.
Yes. Moving companies are considered an essential business and are encouraged to stay open to help people move into their new residence and/or help move essential businesses that are necessary to maintain health, safety, and sanitation.
Yes. Deliveries can continue to be sent to people’s homes, and you may adjust your business model accordingly while this Order is in place.
Yes. According to California’s cannabis regulatory agencies, cannabis is an essential medicine for many residents, and licensees may continue to operate at this time, as long as their operations comply with local rules and regulations. Suppliers to and licensed growers can operate as well. Any licensee that continues to operate must adopt social distancing and anti-congregating measures and must follow the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease at all times.
Yes. Arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals can operate as outdoor businesses, as that term is defined in the Order, but they must strictly comply with social distancing requirements.
Only businesses supplying materials or transportation for “essential infrastructure,” “essential government,” “essential businesses,” “additional businesses,” and “healthcare operations” are permitted to operate.
Yes, janitorial/custodial and security services are allowed because they are necessary for health, safety, and sanitation. If the janitorial/custodial and security staff are working, please visit CDC’s website for more business guidance.
Yes. Gun shops can reopen and provide curbside/storefront retail pickup and delivery (delivery of inventory must be in compliance with applicable laws and regulations).
Yes, so long as the service is necessary to maintain safety and sanitation. Allowable operations include routine maintenance work like cleaning, chemical balancing and adjustments, and filtration (necessary to, for instance, prevent pool algae from blooming) and safety-oriented repairs.
Generally, no. Real estate agents, escrow agents, and other service providers that facilitate real estate transactions like home sales, apartment rentals, and sale of commercial properties are essential workers, but all appointments and viewings must happen virtually (via video or livestream). If a virtual viewing is not possible, then a single photographer or videographer is permitted to visit the property once to take photographs and/or video. This should be done at a time when the occupant is not present in the residence. Only if these options are not possible, then in-person showings can occur by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time from the same household, and only one agent showing the property. In-person showings or walk-throughs are not allowed when the occupant is present in the residence. Commercial viewings should be limited to the minimum number of persons possible.
Businesses that include an Essential Business component at their facilities alongside non-essential components must “scale down” their in-person operations to the Essential Business component only. For instance, if 20% of manufacturing capacity in your business is devoted to essential products, and 80% of capacity is devoted to non-essential products, you can only operate at 20% capacity. The exception to this rule is that retail storefronts that are allowed to stay open under the Order do not need to scale down and can keep their entire retail storefronts open.
It depends. Your lab may operate only if it performs work that is exempted in the Order. Otherwise, you and your employees are allowed to perform only minimum basic operations onsite at your workplace, and must strictly comply with the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face covering, as required in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order, except if a face covering is not required for them (e.g., anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html) .
You must also prepare, post, and implement a social distancing protocol (see section 15.h and Appendix A of the Order) for any facility where you are carrying out minimum basic operations, and you must provide a copy of that protocol to each employee. Other than that, employees cannot be onsite at your lab locations.
Yes. If your store sells a significant amount of groceries and hygiene products, you can keep your entire store open for the public.
If you do not sell a significant amount of goods like food, hygiene, or cleaning products, you can provide curbside/storefront retail pickup and delivery.
No. Businesses that supply food goods and prepared meals to grocery stores and other food retailers are essential and may continue operating.
Employees and contractors of any governmental entity may continue to provide the services and products if the governmental entity determines that they are necessary to carry out an essential governmental function.
Yes. If your business is primarily engaged in supply or repair of cell phones or other telecommunications devices, then it is essential and may continue to operate under the Order for that purpose.
Plant nurseries that qualify as outdoor businesses under the Order may open. An outdoor business is a business that was primarily operating outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, and that has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons. For retail businesses, this means that more than 50% of the total floor area regularly used for product sales was outdoors prior to March 16, 2020.
Outdoor businesses, including plant nurseries, must conduct all business and transactions involving members of the public outdoors. This means that if a nursery includes an indoor facility or indoor portion of its retail space that typically serves the public, that indoor facility or indoor portion of retail space must be closed to the public, although employees may bring products outdoors.
Car washes that qualify as outdoor businesses under the Order may open. An outdoor business is a business that operated primarily outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, and that has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons. Outdoor businesses must conduct all business and transactions involving members of the public outdoors. This means that if a car wash includes an indoor facility that typically serves the public, that indoor facility must be closed to the public.
No. The Order exempts any business that is performing work related to the delivery of health care, including hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists, pharmacies, blood banks and blood drives, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, and veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.
Essential Workers & Businesses (For Employees)
Many businesses are not allowed to operate under this Order. Essential businesses, as defined in the Order, are allowed (and encouraged) to continue operating. Outdoor businesses, as defined in the Order, are also allowed to operate. If your work is not an essential, outdoor, or additional business, you are not allowed to go to work and your employer cannot make you go except for limited minimum basic operations such as maintaining the value of a business’s inventory, keeping the business site safe and secure, or ensuring that employees are able to work remotely. The Order does not prohibit anyone from working from home. Your employer can require you to work from home – and you can do so – if the type of work you do can be performed remotely.
Unless your work is exempted in the Order, you cannot go to work at a physical location in the County even if you want to. You can work from home for any business if your employer allows it and your work can be done from home.
No. But most employees of these companies need to work from home. The only employees of these companies who can go to work are: (i) employees who are needed to maintain the minimum basic operations described in the Order; or (ii) employees who are needed to work onsite to operate, maintain, or repair Essential Infrastructure (i.e., essential global, national, and local infrastructure for internet, computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services for the community) and who cannot perform their work duties from home.
Any employees who are onsite must strictly follow the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another (unless incompatible with the job duty), frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face covering, as required in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order, except if a face covering is not required for them (e.g., anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html). Any business that is carrying out minimum basic operations at a facility in the County must also prepare, post, and implement a social distancing protocol (see section 15.h and Appendix A of the Order) and must provide a copy of that protocol to each employee.
Yes. “Healthcare operations” includes hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists, pharmacies, blood banks and blood drives, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. “Healthcare Operations” also includes veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals, but does not include fitness, exercise gyms, and similar facilities.
Yes, cemeteries are essential infrastructure.
Yes. All employees of hospitals, clinics, and other organizations that provide healthcare, provide services to healthcare organizations, provide needed supplies to healthcare organizations, or otherwise maintain healthcare operations of all kinds may continue working.
The Health Order does not advise or encourage health care workers over 60 to stop reporting to work, and defers to each employer for policies on employee safety.
Construction & Essential Infrastructure
Contact the relevant city or county agency to determine if it is still providing the service you need as an essential governmental function.
The Order allows all construction projects that are permitted under the March 19, 2020 Order of the California State Public Health Officer (the “State Shelter Order”), as long as the projects comply with the Construction Safety Protocols listed in Appendices B1 and B2 of the Order. Once they comply with the Construction Safety Protocols, construction sites do not also need to post a Social Distancing Protocol.
Yes, if the project you are working on is immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure. Essential Infrastructure means airports, utilities (including water, sewer, gas, and electrical), oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste facilities (including collection, removal, disposal, recycling, and processing facilities), cemeteries, mortuaries, crematoriums, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for internet, computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).
All recycling facilities may operate, including but not limited to those providing for recycling of beverage containers, scrap metal, used oil, construction and demolition debris, and any other materials that can be, or are required to be, recycled by the State of California.
Yes. Composting facilities may operate and composting activities may take place.
Yes. All quarries must complete, post, and implement a Social Distancing Protocol and provide all employees with a copy of the Protocol. They must also strictly comply with Social Distancing Requirements set forth in the Order.
Yes, this is permissible construction activity and must comply with the Construction Project Safety Protocols in Appendix B of the Order. Businesses may also operate to manufacture distributed energy resource components, like solar panels.
Yes. State-mandated tests and operator inspections of underground storage tanks are essential activities and should continue under the Order. Repairs necessary to maintain the safety of underground storage tank systems and activities to respond to alarms and address unauthorized releases are also essential and should continue. All such work must be conducted in accordance with the Order, including adhering to social distancing requirements.
A company must use an independent contractor as a JSAS. The JSAS cannot be an employee of any company that is engaged in construction activities at the jobsite.
No. The SCO and JSAS must be different people. There must be an SCO onsite at all times, and the SCO may be an employee of a company doing construction work at the jobsite. The JSAS must be an independent third-party contractor (not an employee of a company doing construction work at the jobsite), and does not need to be at the jobsite at all times.
No. The JSAS does not need to be on site for the project to start, but must be ready to make site visits shortly thereafter. Projects may continue, and must have a JSAS assigned to the site no later than May 11.
Yes. The projects must comply with the new protocols in order to proceed. However, for large construction projects, the third-party jobsite safety accountability supervisor (JSAS) does not have to be assigned to the site until May 11.
The JSAS does not need to be at the jobsite at all times. The JSAS must visit the jobsite with sufficient frequency to adequately ensure compliance. The frequency of visits will vary depending on the size and complexity of the jobsite. For large construction projects subject to the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol, the frequency of JSAS visits must be documented in the Site-Specific Health & Safety Plan.
At a minimum, screening should include questions about whether the individual has a cough, fever, or any other COVID-19 symptoms.
No. As long as the information specified in the Construction Project Safety Protocols is collected, the attendance log is compliant.
COVID-19 compliance will enforce the requirements. Please email compliance concerns to COVID19compliance@acgov.org.