SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Self-isolation and social distancing are the new norms as Sacramento County takes an urgent approach initiating a public health order telling people to stay home.

Just before midnight tonight, residents will be placed under a legal order to stay inside.

Effective March 19, at 11:59 p.m., the Sacramento County Health Officer is directing all individuals living in the county to stay at their place of residence. The legal order limits activity, travel, and business to the most essential needs, which are listed below.

The order is designed to protect those most vulnerable to the coronavirus, slow its spread, and preserve local healthcare capacity, according to a written statement from the city. It remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 7 or until it is changed by the health officer.

The announcement was made Thursday morning. The county says the order is similar to what’s been happening in the Bay Area.

People there are only allowed to leave for certain reasons such as to go grocery shopping, health appointments or a walk but social distancing must be practiced.

County officials said the intent isn’t to cite or arrest people but law enforcement can if necessary. The sheriff’s office says not complying is similar to violating a court order. You can face a misdemeanor or fine of up to $1,000, put in jail or both.

As much as possible, people must also, as much as reasonably possible, maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their home, the order says. Further, county residents can still leave home, but only for essential activities, essential governmental functions, or to operate essential businesses. All businesses with a facility in the county, except essential businesses, are required to stop all activities at facilities in the county, except minimum basic operations. Businesses operating at home are not affected by the order.

All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes as expressly permitted, the city says. All bars, wineries, and brew-pubs should be closed, all in-dining at restaurants should stop, with the exception of home delivery and takeout. Gyms, bingo halls, and card rooms should also close.
All travel, including, but not limited to, travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit, except Essential Travel and Essential Activities.
Essential activities are defined as:
  • Engaging in activities or perform tasks essential to health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members, such as, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.
  • Obtaining necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as food and other grocery and cleaning products.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined, such as walking, hiking, biking, running or equestrian activities.
  • Performing work to provide essential products and services at essential businesses and government entities as well as other nonprofit organizations.
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household.
  • ​​Attending private gatherings of not more than six nonrelatives in a home or place of residence. Social distancing should be practiced at all times at such gatherings.
Sacramento County has 45 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and three who have died from complications of COVID-19.
Yolo, Solano, Yuba and Sutter Counties announced shelter-in-place directives on Wednesday.