Shelter in Place FAQ for Piedmonters

The City has received several questions about the Shelter in Place Order and what it means for residents in Piedmont. Please note that as orders are put in place the answers to these questions may change-check back frequently. Please refer to the Alameda County Shelter in Place FAQ and the Alameda County Extension of the Shelter in Place Order for more information. If you would like to submit a question click here and we will do our best to answer it.

  1. What is the intent of the revised order?

  2. The primary intent of this Order is to ensure that County residents continue to shelter in their places of residence to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the impact on delivery of critical healthcare services. This Order allows a limited number of additional essential and outdoor business activities to resume while the Health Officer continues to assess the transmissibility and clinical severity of COVID-19.

  3. Am I allowed to leave my home while the order in in effect?

  4. Yes, but with strict conditions. The intent of the shelter in place order is to ensure that the maximum number of people shelter in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the impact on delivery of critical healthcare services to those in need. You may leave your residence only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Travel, to work for Essential Businesses, or to perform Minimum Basic Operations for non-essential businesses.

  5. When does the revised order expire?

  6. The Order became effective at 8:00 a.m. on May 18, 2020 and will continue to be in effect until it is rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer.

  7. Is this mandatory or just guidance?

  8. Yes, it is mandatory. These orders are issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply, and it is a crime (a misdemeanor with up to $1,000 in fines or six months imprisonment) not to follow the Orders (although the intent is not for anyone to get into trouble).

  9. What are Essential Activities?

      • Activities to perform tasks important to your health and safety, or to the health and safety of your family or household members (including pets), for example obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional.

      • Activity to obtain necessary services or supplies for yourself and your family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, for example, food, pet supply, or products necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, and operation of your residence.

      • Outdoor recreational activity, such as walking, hiking, bicycling, and running, in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements and with the following limitations:

      • Outdoor recreation activity must be in conformance with any restrictions on access and use established by the Health Officer, government, or other entity that manages areas to reduce crowding and risk of transmission of COVID-19.

        Regarding outdoor recreational activity:

        • Use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and similar recreational areas is prohibited.

        • Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls is prohibited.

        • Sports or activities that require use of shared equipment, like frisbees, basketballs, baseballs, and soccer balls, may only be engaged in by members of the same household.

    Parks, Pets, & Exercise

  10. When will parks open in Piedmont?

  11. Piedmont will begin opening City parks for limited activity on Tuesday, May 5th.  The City will use Monday to perform necessary maintenance tasks which cannot be undertaken until the new order comes in to force. The openings will be staggered, to ensure that maintenance needs which were deferred due to the previous orders are taken care of before parks are opened.  

  12. What happens if people don’t follow the rules in the parks?

  13. If non-compliance is noted they may be closed down. Each governmental entity can make a determination regarding the restrictions on public access to parks and open spaces necessary to maintain social distancing.

  14. Can I take my kids to the park?

  15. Yes. You can take your kids to the park or other areas to run around in open spaces, or bring your own sports equipment to an open space as long as it is used only by members of your own household and not shared with other people.

  16. Can we use play structures?

  17. No. Recreational areas with equipment that lots of people touch or areas where people gather close together, like playgrounds, picnic areas, barbecue areas, and dog parks, must remain closed and you cannot use them while the Order is in effect.

  18. Will the Piedmont Community Pool open?

  19. No. The revised County order still requires closure of all swimming pools.

  20. Can I play tennis?

  21. Yes, with conditions.  The City of Piedmont tennis courts reopened on Friday, May 18.  Please see the Recreation page for details.   
  22. Can I play team sports?

  23. Sports with shared equipment or physical contact, like soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and tennis, may only be played with members of your same household or living unit.

  24. Can I play pickleball?

  25. Pickleball will be allowed once appropriate protocols and signage can be worked out.

  26. Can I play basketball?

  27. You can play basketball by yourself or with members of your household. Basketball courts will be re-opened once appropriate protocols and signage are worked out.

  28. Can I travel to a County park or open space to hike?

  29. Yes. Spending time outside improves mood and well-being, and is particularly beneficial to children. You can go for walks, go to the park, and enjoy other outdoor activities. But operators of parks, beaches, and other open spaces may restrict entry, close certain areas, or close the whole facility altogether to reduce crowding and limit risk of COVID-19 exposure. While you’re on a hike or enjoying an open space area, you must strictly follow social distancing requirements including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household or living unit.

  30. Do I still have to wear a face covering?

  31. Yes. You must continue to comply with the Face Covering Order. Click here for more information about the face covering requirement.

  32. Can I go to a bar, nightclub, theater, gym, or health club?

  33. No. Entertainment venues, gyms, and health clubs like these are not permitted to be open during this Order.

  34. Can I leave home to visit friends or family members in another household?

  35. No. For your safety as well as their safety, you are not allowed to visit friends or family members outside your own household unit if there is no urgent need or I am not performing an essential activity?


  36. Can I get a building permit or building inspection from the Planning & Building Department for my construction project?

  37. Yes. Planning & Building continues to receive and process applications. Most services are being provided through email and telephone communications, and the submission of electronic documents. Please contact Planning & Building at (510) 420-3050 or by e-mail for information on our current application procedures.

  38. Are construction projects allowed?

  39. The Order allows residential construction, but only on the condition that the individuals performing construction comply with the Construction Safety Protocols listed in Appendix B1 of the Order for Small Construction Project Safety Protocol.

  40. Are there any restrictions on when construction is allowed?

  41. Yes. Please be aware that during these extraordinary times neighbors are working and attending classes in their homes. The Planning & Building Department is asking contractors and property owners to be extra sensitive to noise, dust, dirt, parking and other quality of life issues related to your construction project and the surrounding neighborhood. Construction noise is permitted in Piedmont from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. We suggest you reach out to your neighbors when resuming work and to keep an open channel of communication with them.

  42. May I submit an application for a planning permit?

  43. Yes. The Planning Division is accepting and processing applications including those for design review permit, accessory dwelling unit permit, and conditional use permit. Most services are being provided through email and telephone communications, and the submission of electronic documents. Please contact Planning & Building at (510) 420-3050 or by e-mail for information on our current application procedures.

    General Questions 

  44. What do I do about my kids? I have to work.

  45. If you work for an Essential Business or provide Essential Governmental Functions, as described in the Order, you can and should continue to work. Certain employers, schools, and community organizations will be providing childcare/daycare for employees of essential businesses. Essential workers searching for childcare can connect with Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to find care. Visit First 5 Alameda County for more information. 

  46. Can my housekeeper continue to clean my home?

  47. Yes. Remember to distance yourself at least six feet from your housekeeper. If you feel sick, do not ask your housekeeper to clean your home. 

  48. Can my landscaper/arborist/gardener continue to maintain my yard?

  49. Yes. Arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals can operate as outdoor businesses, as that term is defined in the Order, but they must strictly comply with social distancing requirements. Remember, Gas leaf blowers are NOT permitted in Piedmont.

  50. Is my garbage being picked up?

  51. Yes, if it fits in the bin it will be picked up. If it does not fit in the bin, pickup will be deferred until after the emergency declaration has ended. See the temporary changes here.

  52. Do I have to pay my property taxes by April 10?

    Yes, but if you have experienced hardships caused by the corona virus and the shelter-in-place order in relation to payment of property tax you can apply for a Property Tax Late Payment Waiver, please see the press release from the Alameda County Tax Collector for more information about penalty waivers for eligible taxpayers. 

  53. How will I get food and medicine I need if I must “Shelter in Place” in my home?

  54. The Order specifically allows people to leave their home to buy food, purchase medicine, and purchase other necessary items. It also directs businesses selling those items to remain open, and allows employees of those businesses to keep working and ensure those businesses are operating. Essential businesses that remain open must follow industry-specific guidance issued by the County Health Officer related to COVID-19.

  55. Can my kids play together in our yard?

  56. Nothing in the order prohibits members of a single household or living unit from engaging in Essential Travel or Essential Activities together.

  57. Can I visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need?

  58. No. For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. Stay connected through phone calls, social media or video conferencing. Try a Zoom Video Happy Hour or dinner party!

  59. Can my kids still have playdates with their friends?

  60. No. For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes expressly permitted in the order.

  61. Are short-term rentals such as AirBnBs allowed?

  62. Yes, with conditions. Under the County’s Order, short-term rentals can likely still operate to a limited extent, but renters should only use short-term rentals when necessary to essential activities. For example, if a person had to travel to the County to help build a hospital, the person could stay in a short-term rental. Another example of an allowed rental would be if a person needed to leave their home for their safety, e.g., domestic violence. Hosts should make clear to potential guests that vacations and leisure travel are not allowed under the County’s Order. Hosts should take all reasonable measures to avoid renting to individuals displaying signs of illness and should also deepclean/disinfect between rentals

  63. Can plant nurseries stay open?

  64. Plant nurseries that qualify as outdoor businesses under the Order may open. An outdoor business is a business that was primarily operating outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, and that has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons. For retail businesses, this means that more than 50% of the total floor area regularly used for product sales was outdoors prior to March 16, 2020. Outdoor businesses, including plant nurseries, must conduct all business and transactions involving members of the public outdoors. This means that if a nursery includes an indoor facility or indoor portion of its retail space that typically serves the public, that indoor facility or indoor portion of retail space must be closed to the public, although employees may bring products outdoors.

  65. Can I continue to use public transit?

  66. You may use public transit only for purposes of performing Essential Activities or to travel to and from work to operate Essential Businesses, maintain Essential Governmental Functions, or to perform Minimum Basic Operations at non-essential businesses. Transit agencies and people riding on public transit must comply with Social Distancing Requirements, as defined in Section 13.k of the order, to the greatest extent feasible.

  67. Is Mulberrys open and other food retailers?

  68. Yes. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and similar food retail establishments are encouraged to remain open to provide food and pet supplies to the public. When visiting these establishments, please help retailers maintain six feet minimum distance between patrons, including by providing ample space while shopping and waiting in line.

    Specifically to Mulberry’s, take your coffee to go and do NOT linger and socialize out front. Tables and chairs have been removed for a reason!

  69. Can I travel out of Alameda County?

  70. The order allows travel into or out of the county only to perform essential activities, operate essential businesses, maintain essential governmental functions, or perform minimum basic operations at non-essential businesses.

  71. Can I dine out?

  72. No. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food to the public are encouraged to stay open, but only to provide delivery and carryout. Patrons will not be permitted to dine or congregate in restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.

  73. What if my plumbing gets stopped up or there is another problem with necessary equipment at my home?

  74. The order allows service providers like plumbers, electricians, and exterminators and other service providers that are necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation, and operation of residences and Essential Businesses, but not for cosmetic or other purposes.

  75. Are non-profit organizations allowed to continue operating?

  76. If they provide essential services as described in the Order, then yes they can and should continue providing those services. This would include non-profit operating food pantries, providing housing for homeless residents, and many other critical services.

  77. Can I still order things online and have them delivered to my house?

  78. Yes. You will still be able to get mail and other deliveries at your home.

  79. Where can Piedmont Residents find services they need?

  80. Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In.
    New campaign urging Californians to help combat social isolation and food insecurity among Californians who are over the age of 65—a community that is uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19. The Governor also announced the creation of a statewide hotline 1 (833) 544-2374 in coordination with the non-profit local 2-1-1 systems, so that Californians have a one-stop shop to answer their questions and get assistance during this crisis. This line is staffed by professionals 24/7.

    Alameda County Resources 211
    Consider dialing 211 for Alameda County Resources. Dialing 211 helps direct callers to services for the elderly, the disabled, those who do not speak English, those with a personal crisis, and those who are new to their communities. If you get a voicemail due to high demand, leave a message and someone will call you back. You can also send a text message with your questions. Send a text to 898211 with your questions and zip code.

    Alameda County Public Health Resources for the Community

    Oakland At Risk Match
    They match you with a low-risk volunteer who lives in your community and wants to help you by getting groceries, picking up prescriptions, and checking in every couple of days. Piedmonters in need can sign-up on their site or call 1 (510) 306-4973.

    Crisis Support Services of Alameda County
    If you or someone you know is struggling with difficult life circumstances or uncomfortable thoughts and emotions we are here to help. You do not need to be experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings to call. Trained crisis intervention counselors are available to receive crisis calls and give supportive counseling 24 hours a day, every day. Translation is available in more than 140 languages. We also offer teletype (TDD) services for deaf and hearing-impaired individuals. 1 (800) 273-8255

  81. How can I help my fellow Piedmonters in need?

  82. For those who are looking for ways to help in the community, here are organizations you can contact to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic:

    Oakland At Risk Match
    (510) 306-4973

    Meals on Wheels
    (510) 777-9560

    Mercy Brown Bag Program
    (510) 534-8540 ext. 369

  83. What if I have questions not answered here?

  84. The Alameda County Public Health Department has answers to more Frequently Asked Questions as well.