Amid confusion, Orange County says COVID-19 restrictions are not a ‘shelter-in-place’ order

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A day after Orange County health officials issued an order banning most gatherings — including in workplaces, with some exceptions — they clarified that it was not a "shelter-in-place" order.

"Unfortunately, the order as written caused wide-spread confusion," county officials said in a statement Wednesday.

The public health order is "not a lockdown," officials said. O.C. Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick is expected to issue a new order later Wednesday to better explain how O.C. residents, workers and businesses are affected.

The order issued Tuesday had laid out broad restrictions for where and how residents can gather — making exceptions only for those involved in so-called "essential activities."

"All public and private gatherings of any number of people, including at place of work, occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited," the Tuesday order states.

Among those exempt from the order on Tuesday are grocery store workers, plumbers, first responders, law enforcement officers, farmers, journalists, and those working in some other specified industries.

The order stated that restaurants can remain open for take-out, drive-thru or delivery orders but cannot serve diners inside, something previously enacted in L.A. County and many other places. That part of the order will remain the same.

Also on Wednesday, county officials said bars and other places serving alcohol but not food must close.

Meanwhile, millions of Californians, most of them in the Bay Area, remain under a shelter-in-place order that restricts their movements to only certain activities when leaving indoors — getting food, supplies, medical attention or getting out to exercise are all OK.