Fresno joins Bay Area with coronavirus ‘shelter-in-place’ order

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The California city of Fresno on Wednesday joined the Bay Area by issuing a shelter-in-place order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The order is effective Thursday and lasts through the end of the month, though city officials say it’s possible that could be extended.

Under the order, residents are permitted to leave their homes for “essential services” like grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments or going to work.

Those that do leave their homes are advised to “maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person.”  Older people and those with special illnesses are urged to stay home as much as possible.

The order states that “non-essential businesses” must “cease all activities at facilities located within the city except minimum basic operations.”

Businesses are allowed to continue operations “consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).”

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The city did not specify how they enforce the order or how they would punish those who refuse to abide by its guidelines.

“We are making the most difficult decision we’ve ever made,” said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. “In the end, this is really a life and death situation.”

The order follows multiple Bay Area cities that issued similar orders earlier this week.

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California has confirmed more than 750 cases of the coronavirus with at least 13 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.