In darkness at 5am Monday morning, customers arrived at Safeway in Strawberry hoping to get a jump on the weeks(s) ahead. They were greeted by just-posted new store hours of 6am-midnight, and dozens patiently queued up in the darkness, ready to stock up.

Several people said they were shopping, at least in part, on behalf of an elderly relative or neighbor, in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom issuing sweeping new guidelines in an effort to head off the spread of the coronavirus. Those guidelines included telling anyone 65 or older and anyone with chronic health conditions to isolate themselves at home, as well says that bars, nightclubs, wineries, brew pubs and the like should close, with all restaurants halving their capacity to keep customers at least six feet from one another.

Michelle Godard Terrell, who chairs the City of Mill Valley’s Emergency Preparedness Commission, said now is the perfect moment to check in on your relatives and neighbors, particularly those over 65 and with underlying health issues.

“When possible, we should encourage residents to check in on their friends and neighbors in these groups to be sure they have what they need,” she says. “We recommend residents to be ready to help neighbors who are elderly and have underlying health issues if services they depend on are not available (and to keep checking on them throughout this situation).”

And it now appears that a shelter-In-place order is going to be issued today covering all six Bay Area counties, effective 12:01am Tuesday. Government officials will be directing everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks as public health officials desperately try to curb the rapid spread of coronavirus across the region,” according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

The directive would span San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties — a combined population of more than 6.7 million. It is to stay in place until at least April 7. Three other Bay Area counties — Sonoma, Solano and Napa — were not immediately included.

Stay tuned for more details.

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