What COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Orders Mean for You

In an effort to help hospitals deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments have ordered residents to stay home. Generally speaking, you are only allowed to leave home to get groceries, buy medical supplies or to walk your dog.

Staying Home Is Beneficial Even If You Don’t Have Symptoms of COVID-19

It is estimated that up to half of people who are infected with the novel coronavirus won’t have any symptoms. Therefore, you could spread the disease to others without even knowing it. It is important to note that you are unlikely to be held civilly or criminally liable for infecting another person if you did so while complying with the terms of an order to remain at home.

This is because you aren’t violating a duty of care toward others simply by getting groceries for your family or walking your dog. However, if you willfully coughed or sneezed on a person who then became ill, you could be held liable for damages. A personal injury attorney may be able to represent your interests in a civil case.

What If You Do Violate an Order to Remain at Home?

In most cases, you will be subject to a fine for violating an order to stay at home. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will likely be ordered to remain in quarantine for 14 days. If you don’t stay home during the quarantine period, authorities may take you into custody and hold you in jail or at a hospital until the order expires.

Orders May Change Over Time

The conditions of any order to stay at home could be loosened or tightened as events unfold. If you have been cited or arrested for violating such an order, your attorney may be able to help you learn more about why that happened.