What does it mean to shelter in place?

The order was issued for the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City may make a similar demand

A shelter-in-place order, which is issued during extenuating circumstances like a public health emergency, calls for residents to stay indoors barring a specific, justifiable reason during extenuating circumstances, such as a public emergency.

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The term has circulated on social media and in news reports this week as officials respond to threats surrounding the new coronavirus, which has afflicted at least 5,702 people in the United States, and more than 195,800 globally, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Pedestrian traffic is light along Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, Monday, March 16, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides basic guidelines for “how to shelter in place,” which include stocking up on supplies, finding a safe spot to hunker down indoors and, simply staying put. The CDC also emphasized that different types of emergencies called for different shelter-in-place responses.

As of 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, New York had the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the nation with at least 1,700 Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during a press conference. And 814 of those cases have been reported in the Big Apple, according to the New York City Health Department’s latest numbers released at about 2:30 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told the media on Tuesday afternoon New Yorkers “should be prepared for a shelter in place order. It's definitely a possibility."

A decision would be made in the next 48 hours, he said.

Earlier in the day, de Blasio told CNN on Tuesday officials are "strongly considering" following in San Francisco's footsteps. He further said they are “going to look at all other options, but it could get to that for sure for the whole country."

A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a nearly empty restaurant near Grand Central Terminal, Monday, March 16, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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But Cuomo insisted at his own press conference he has “no interest whatsoever and no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city.”

“That cannot happen,” he said. “It cannot happen legally. No city in the state can quarantine itself without state approval.”

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The specific restrictions outlined in each region's shelter-in-place order would likely depend from place to place.

On Monday, San Francisco officials announced a shelter-in-place order for the Bay Area’s 7 million residents, requiring that they stay inside and venture out only for food, medicine or exercise for three weeks.

The main hallway of the Ferry Building Marketplace is mostly empty, on March 16, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

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The order affects the counties of San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda, which includes the cities of Berkeley and Oakland.

As of Tuesday, at least 557 COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, cases were reported in California.

The order, the most drastic measure taken yet in the nation, took effect Tuesday and is expected to run until at least April 7.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.