SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Santa Cruz County is joining six neighboring Bay Area counties in ordering residents to shelter in place effective at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and lasting until midnight on April 7 to help restrict the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The county currently has nine confirmed cases.

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“These common sense, temporary measures are based on the best medical practices and are intended to help slow the spread of communicable diseases,” Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said in a statement.

“They are not intended to alarm, and I encourage everyone to keep their spirits up while adjusting their routines to help protect the health and welfare of all Santa Cruz County residents.”

Public activities will be confined to essential services and activities.

Exceptions to the order include law and safety operations, essential government services, health care operations, pharmacies, child care facilities, food production including farming, food businesses including groceries and other food retailers, telecommunications, restaurants operating at reduced capacity, shelter including hotels, social services, establishments and agencies serving economically disadvantaged populations, gas stations, banks, laundry businesses, and safety and sanitation businesses.

“These extraordinary measures are necessary to meet the challenge in front of us,” County Administrative Office Carlos Palacios said. “We will come together as a community. I urge everyone to follow these measures closely.”

As part of the county action, the City of Santa Cruz Police Department is limiting direct interaction with the public as much as practical, including closing the lobby of the police station until further notice.

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Requests for police reports must be made by telephone at (831) 420-5870.

Officers will have the discretion to handle some complaints by phone, the department said, and if speaking in person may do it outdoors when possible while trying to keep a distance of at least five feet.

“If you can avoid having to summon a police officer, please do so,” the department said. “If your issue can wait, then please hold until this health crisis is over.”

Someone who requests police services while experiencing flu-like symptoms should notify the dispatch operators so officers can take necessary safety precautions before arrival.

County officials said they are working with partner agencies to quickly develop contingency plans “to help protect low-income and other vulnerable populations and help assure essential needs are met.”

Even with the restrictions the county is encouraging residents to offer support such as checking on and assisting vulnerable neighbors and families with children out of school. Officials suggest supporting local businesses where possible including ordering takeout food.

For more county information on COVID-19, visit, call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211.

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