As time progresses, more cities are declaring themselves a “shelter-in-place.” This new term has left many of us confused about what it actually means. There are talks of NYC being the next city to implement this term, but what does it actually entail?

Here are the basics you should know about sheltering-in-place:

You Can Still Leave Your House

Although the term means you should “stay home unless absolutely necessary,” you can still walk outside “to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential business or government services,” according to The Guardian

Staying inside will help stop to spreading of the virus, but it’s also fine to go outside for food, medicine and other necessities for staying healthy. 

There Isn’t An Exact Timeframe 

Currently, the order is sent in the Bay Area of California until April 7th. We don’t know how long the coronavirus spreading will last, so it’s undetermined how long the shelter-in-place order would exist.

You Can Walk Your Dog Outside

As long as you stay six feet away from other people, per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), you can walk your dog.

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, says: “You will still be able to walk your dog or go on a hike alone or with someone you live with or even with another person as long as you keep six feet between you.”

Homeless People Are Exempt

If you don’t have a home to shelter-in-place, your state may provide housing. For example, California is currently buying hotels and trailers to house homeless people temporarily. 

Not Complying Is A Misdemeanor

Technically, if you don’t follow the shelter-in-place guidelines, you’ll be committing a misdemeanor. Whether or not law enforcement will arrest you is unknown.