Dear Neighbor,
The City of Berkeley Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez has issued a revised Shelter In Place Order that went into effect yesterday, Fri., June 19 that allows for the following activities:
  • Allows retail stores to open for indoor shopping, subject to limitations on occupancy and other conditions;
  • Allows restaurants and other dining establishments to open for outdoor dining;
  • Strongly encourages places of worship to continue to hold services remotely, but allows them to hold religious services and cultural ceremonies attended by up to 100 individuals, subject to limitations on occupancy and other conditions;
  • Authorizes outdoor non-contact fitness classes with up to 12 participants;
  • Allows college sports teams to conduct non-contact, socially distanced athletic training and practices;
  • Authorizes the opening of outdoor museums, historic sites, and publicly accessible gardens;
  • Allows outdoor political events and protests with appropriate social distancing;
  • Allows dog parks to reopen; and
  • Authorizes socially distanced “vehicle-based gatherings,” such as drive-in movies.

Here is the news release issued on Thurs., June 18 with more information :
Parallel health orders in effect on Friday, June 19 allow people in Berkeley and the rest of Alameda County to attend religious ceremonies, dine with others in their "social bubble" at restaurants with outdoor seating, and go inside retail stores.

The orders will also allow groups of 12 to take part in outdoor non-contact fitness classes and non-contact athletic training for college teams. A previous order allowed children to have both  a household bubble as well as a bubble for extracurricular activities, such as sports .

Each business or group will be required to put measures into place to limit spread of COVID-19, which has no vaccine or proven medical treatment and is particularly lethal to those over 65 and those with high-risk conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

"We permit these activities with restrictions to limit spread, but people should not abandon caution," said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, Health Officer for the City of Berkeley. "COVID-19 remains a threat to everyone in our community, regardless of age. Just because an act is allowed, the risk of infection is not eliminated."

Dr. Hernandez and other health officials recommend that everyone should take these steps during this pandemic:
  • Staying home remains the safest place to be, especially for vulnerable groups
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and wateror hand sanitizer as a last resort
  • Keep six feet apart from those outside your household
  • Wear a face covering when outside
  • If worried about infection, get testedregardless of symptoms. 

Everyone should assess the risks for themselves or their households when taking part in additional activities. Reduce risk by being outdoors, having shorter activities, and using merchants that visibly abide by protocols.

The rules being put into place by the two Public Health jurisdictions closely align with state guidance. Merchants should see  our streamlined process for getting permits for commerce in sidewalks and streets and for creating parklets .

Retail Stores
All retail stores are now allowed to operate as long as they follow guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19. They are encouraged to make goods available for curbside pickup.

Retailers operating indoors must have enough space so that patrons and staff can be six feet apart and no more than 50 percent of normal occupancy.

All stores must make reasonable efforts to ensure that staff and customers wear face coverings, and comply with social distancing intervals, such as marking six foot intervals for customers to stand in line at pickup areas.

Stores may move goods outside for display or sale as long as they get appropriate City permits and do not cause congestion or block the path of travel.

Merchants must also comply with  state guidance for retailers

Outdoor Dining
Restaurants can now serve sit-down meals outside as long as they have the required City permits and  follow state guidance . Groups of six people who are part of a social bubble together can go out for a meal together and must wear masks, except when eating.

Tables and lounge areas must be arranged so that there is at least six feet between people of different social bubbles. Entertainment is not allowed.

Restaurants that have been closed for at least a month will have to comply with a number of regulations, the specifics of which can be seen in the order.

All restaurants must sanitize areas that have not been used, post their  Site-Specific Protection Protocol , follow the state  General Checklist for Dine-in Restaurants , and designate a COVID-19 supervisor, who is on site during business hours and in charge to ensure the implementation of the food facilities' Site-Specific Protection Plan.

Lines for curbside pickup or takeaway must be in a separate area that prevents them from accessing the outdoor dining area.

Please see the  full Health Order  for details.

Places of Worship
Mosques, churches, temples and other places of worship may hold in-person religious services and cultural ceremonies as long as they follow  state guidance . Livestreaming services are still encouraged as in-person religious services and cultural ceremonies can involve extended periods of close contact increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Services or ceremonies may not exceed 100 attendees or 25 percent of the building's capacity, whichever is less. Organizers should consider keeping contact information for event attendees for 21 days. That would allow city, county or regional contact tracers to reach people should an outbreak occur in these settings.

Non-contact outdoor fitness classes and college sports training
College sports teams as well as outdoor fitness classes can now hold non-contact practices or classes, respectively, in groups of 12 athletes or participants. One coach or instructor may also be present.

Everyone must wear a face covering, except when participating in high-intensity aerobic activities. Participants must keep at least six feet apart at all times. No equipment may be shared and should be sanitized after each practice, class or use.

Class operators must get permission from private owners or managers of the outdoor space.

Locker rooms, weight rooms, or other indoor facilities may not be used at this time.

Everyone has a role in keeping our community safe
Increased activities and movements will lead to more COVID-19 cases. Doing so in a gradual fashion lessens the impact and allows health officials to monitor the effects of each phase.

"Everyone in our community holds tools to reduce spread," said Dr. Hernandez. "Wear a face covering, wash hands frequently, keep distance from others and get tested if concerned."