What you can and can’t do during Sacramento County’s coronavirus stay-at-home order

Sacramento County has formally ordered residents to remain in their homes except for essential chores; an order that carries the force of law in effort to slow the coronavirus spread and limit the number of people infected with the respiratory illness COVID-19.

The countywide order went into effect March 19 and will remain in place until April 7, unless county officials announce a shortening or lengthening of the order. The order urges residents to maintain social distancing of 6 feet while outside and washing hands for at least 20 seconds.

Some law enforcement officials say residents have responded with questions and concerns about the county stay-at-home order. Here’s a list of what you can and can’t do while the order is in effect.

What you can leave your home to do

  • Buy groceries, cleaning supplies, pet supplies or household safety products.

  • Get medical supplies or medication, or visit a health care professional.

  • Get supplies to work from home.

  • Deliver services or supplies, such as food and household safety or cleaning products.

  • Participate in outdoor activities with 6-feet social distancing, such as walking, hiking, biking, running or equestrian activities.

  • Work at an “essential” business.

  • Provide care for a family member or pet in another home.

  • To attend private gatherings of no more than six non-relatives in a home, with social distancing at all times.

  • Work for or obtain services at any healthcare facility, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, veterinary care or any animal healthcare, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services, mental healthcare providers, or any related services.

  • Work or provide services for “essential infrastructure,” including construction, airports, water, sewer, flood control, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, garbage collection, internet and telecommunications systems. But this work must be done with social distancing as much as possible.

  • Work as first-responders, emergency management personnel, public health staff, emergency dispatchers, court personnel, and law enforcement personnel.

  • Work as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and others who provide safety, sanitation, and essential home services.

  • Provide free meals with a schools and other organization that typically offers free meals to students or others can continue but only for pick-up and take-away.

  • Work at a childcare facility with groups of the same 12 kids or fewer each day. The children cannot switch groups, and each group shall be in a separate room and childcare providers must remain solely with one group of children.

  • Work providing “essential” government functions with social distancing as much as possible. Government agencies will each identify and designate appropriate employees or contractors needed to continue these functions.

  • You can travel with social distancing for essential activities, governmental functions or businesses. This includes travel required by law enforcement or court order and to return home outside the county.

Essential businesses include:

  • Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, food banks, convenience stores, and other retail businesses that sell food, pet supplies or household products.

  • Agriculture, food, and beverage cultivation, processing, and distribution, such as farms, ranches, dairies, creameries, wineries and breweries to preserve inventory and production; not for retail business.

  • Businesses that provide food, shelter and social services for economically disadvantaged people.

  • Newspapers, television, radio and other media services.

  • Gas stations and auto supply, sales and auto-repair and related businesses.

  • Banks and related financial institutions.

  • Hardware stores.

  • Mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes.

  • Schools. Most have closed in California, and some continue work remotely.

  • Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service.

  • Restaurants but only for delivery or carry out.

  • Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation.

  • Home-based care for the elderly, adults or children.

  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting when necessary.

What you cannot do

  • Leave your home if you are someone with a high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

  • Leave home when you are sick. You are urged to stay home as much as possible, except when it’s necessary to seek medical care.

  • Exercise at fitness facilities and gyms.

  • Gather in large groups of more than 10 people in public.

  • Operate or work in a business not considered essential, except for minimum basic operation.

  • Visit wineries, bars or brew-pubs, which should be closed.

  • Eat in any restaurants. Only take-out or delivery is permitted.

  • Travel for activities that are not essential, that includes on a bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, vehicle or public transit.

What could happen if you violate the order

A violation of any portion of the order is considered an imminent threat to public health and can be treated as a misdemeanor crime.

County leaders have said the intent is not to cite or arrest anyone, but to have the ability to require bars to close and restaurants to only serve take-out of delivery food.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn has said his officers and others throughout the county are not stopping people solely to ask them about where they’re going to enforce this stay-at-home order. Elk Grove Police Chief Timothy Albright said the same Tuesday.

“Our officers are instructed not to engage in any proactive enforcement related to the order at this time,” Albright said in a news release. “Our goal is to provide our community members and visiting public with a safe environment wherein we are all working together to limit the spread of the virus and flatten the curve.”

Both Hahn and Albright urged residents to continue to comply with the stay-at-home order, maintain social distancing and avoid large group gatherings. Rumors of a curfew are false, they said.

The police chiefs also said officers continue to check on businesses, as many have been shutdown, as part of their regular patrol duties. And they asked residents to report suspicious activity.

Sacramento County has a coronavirus webpage with more information and frequently asked questions about the stay-at-home order and updates about efforts to slow the COVID-19 spread.