As shelter-in-place directives took effect across northern counties in California, contractors and local and state officials are trying to decipher the definition of “essential” in the unprecedented response to curtail COVID-19.

Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Sonoma counties all issued shelter-in-place orders, requiring residents to stay home except to obtain or provide essential services, which currently includes construction affecting public works and infrastructure.

San Francisco’s shelter-in-place ordinance allows work to continue on construction of public works, housing, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet and telecommunications. Work must comply with social distancing standards where possible.

Continue reading this story on Find ENR’s latest coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.