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San Francisco Imposes Quarantine on Travelers and Commuters from Outside the Bay Area with Two Exceptions for Construction Workers

January 04, 2021

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The City and County of San Francisco (SF) issued a COVID-19 surge-related travel and quarantine order (Quarantine Order) on Dec. 16, 2020, and an updated Shelter-In-Place Order (SIP Order) on December 9 (updated Dec. 30, 2020). Under those orders, every person who enters SF after having been outside the Bay Area within the last ten days must quarantine for 240 hours from the time of arrival in SF. However, two exceptions apply to those working on construction projects in SF.

First, those commuting to SF to work on Essential Infrastructure are exempt from the quarantine requirements. Essential Infrastructure is defined by the SF Shelter-In-Place Order (SIP Order) to include, among other things, airports, utilities (including water, sewer, gas, and electrical), roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste facilities (including collection, removal, disposal, recycling, and processing facilities), and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for internet, computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

Second, those who traveled outside of the Bay Area but who must return to SF “due to lack of staffing for an Essential Business” are also exempt, provided that their employer has provided them with a written notice. Construction is an Essential Business under the SIP Order.

Changes from the previous SIP Order are identified in this chart, which still indicates that construction is “allowed (indoors and outdoors).” Like the previous update, the SIP Order imposes mandatory reporting on businesses when three or more personnel contract COVID-19 within two weeks.

Therefore, to comply with the SF Quarantine and SIP Orders, employers must provide written notice to all necessary construction workers who travel to SF for work from outside the Bay Area, unless the project is within the definition of Essential Infrastructure, in which case written notice is not required. The Quarantine Order defines the Bay Area to include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma counties. As of Dec. 30, 2020, the SIP Order remains in effect indefinitely, until otherwise ordered by the SF Health Officer.

For more information, please contact:

Marc Coats

415-995-6371 Direct Phone
415-995-3406 Fax

Email Attorney


Michelle Akerman

415-995-5172 Direct Phone
415-995-3469 Fax

Email Attorney


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