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Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

NEW HEALTH ORDERS ALLOW INCREASED SOCIALIZATION, ACTIVITIES -- AND REQUIRES HAVING FACE COVERINGS WHEN OUT
As more people mix, urgency to take protective actions also rises

Berkeley, California (Friday, June 05, 2020) - A new COVID-19 health order effective Monday, June 8, will allow all Berkeleyans to socialize outdoors in stable groups outside their households, send their kids to childcare or summer camp, and employ housecleaners and dog walkers.

As part of a separate health order that will also be effective Monday, June 8, community members will now be required to have a visible face covering with them anytime they are outside their home and to wear it when within 30 feet of others.

These paired orders reflect the fact that the data around cases and hospitalizations allow these further activities. At the same time, this shift allowing more people to do more activities requires greater urgency for people to take protective actions as the virus will more easily spread with increased movement. 

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and otherwise use hand sanitizer
  • Keep physical distance from others
  • Wear a face covering when others may be nearby

"COVID-19 remains embedded in our community, our county and throughout our region," said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, Berkeley's Health Officer. "Every person is a potential carrier as those infected do not necessarily show symptoms. As long as there is no vaccine or treatment, we will see more cases and more deaths, but these protective actions prevent the spread." 

These orders apply to any people, businesses or organizations in Berkeley, and they align with orders being released for the rest of Alameda County in a reflection of the close partnerships between Berkeley Public Health and Alameda County Public Health as we navigate this unprecedented pandemic. 

Shelter in place updates

The updated shelter in place order, which will take effect on Monday, June 8, allows:

  • Childcare for all: childcare and camps are open to children of all caretakers. They are no longer restricted to individuals working in specific industries. Childcare services and camps must still comply with previously announced  rules regarding limited group sizes and social distancing.
  • Curbside library services: Public libraries may now offer curbside pickup for books and other materials. Berkeley Public Library anticipates opening up for curbside pickup by the end of the month.
  • Social bubbles: stable groups of up to 12 people who do not live together may socialize outdoors.
  • Limited services which do not generally require close customer contact, including residential housecleaners, dog walkers, and pet grooming.
  • Educational institutional can engage in career internships and pathways.

Social bubbles

The new Order permits small outdoor gatherings between people who have collectively agreed to limit their social activities to only each other for at least three weeks -- a "social bubble."

Social bubbles may include up to 12 people, including children, and must remain stable for at least three weeks. During this period, adults in the bubble may only socialize in-person outdoors with other members.

All members of a single household must be part of the same bubble. A child in shared custody can be in a household bubble for each parent or guardian. In addition to their household bubble, children may be part of no more than one other stable group over at least three weeks that primarily includes other children - either in a childcare setting or in a youth extracurricular activity, such as a sports team, club or summer camp.

Members of a social bubble may gather together outdoors in public or private settings. During gatherings, everyone over 12 years old should still wear a face covering.

After three weeks, if there is no concern about sickness, members can form a new bubble with different people to exclusively socialize with outdoors for the next three weeks.

If anyone in the social bubble is concerned about being sick, they should avoid socialization. If they are concerned about COVID-19 sickness, they should follow City and CDC recommendations to contact their doctor, stay home and avoid spreading illness in their own household. If anyone in the social bubble has COVID-19, everyone in the group should quarantine themselves and contact their health care providers.

Expanded face covering requirements

In concert with this new expansion of allowed activities, the new Order simplifies the rules around face coverings. Starting Monday, June 8, everyone will be required to have a face covering visible and ready to use when they are outside their home, and to wear it over their nose and mouth whenever they are within 30 feet of other people. 

The 30 foot requirement - roughly the length of a row of three small cars - is intended to allow for adequate time to put on your face covering before others come within 6 feet. This standard applies when even walking or exercising outdoors alone or with members of your household.

The new Order maintains exceptions for children, people with a disability or

medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering, or others for whom face coverings would pose a health or safety risk.  

Face coverings play a critical role in combatting COVID-19, which spreads easily among people less than 6 feet from each other. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets expelled when we speak, sneeze, and breathe. 

"New activities are allowed in this phase of the pandemic because of the protective actions so many have taken like staying home, keeping physical distance when out and wearing a face covering," said Dr. Hernandez, the City Health Officer. "Protective actions limit the spread of the virus, and the urgency to take them rises as we mix more."

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