Sacramento on Thursday joined several other Northern California counties in formally ordering residents to remain in their homes and to only go out for essential chores – a drastic curtailment of societal functions that public health officials say is essential to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The order carries the force of law. Earlier this week, County Health Director Peter Beilenson announced the same restrictions, but issued them in the form of a directive, which did not have the force of law. A violation of the order can be treated as a misdemeanor crime. Yolo County issued the same order on Wednesday.

Beilenson and other county leaders said the intent is not to cite or arrest anyone, but to have the ability to require bars to close and restaurants to only serve take-out of delivery food.

Beilenson was expected to be joined by Sheriff Scott Jones, District Attorney Ann Schubert and others in announcing the order, which will go into effect at the end of the day Thursday.

 

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