“Safer At Home”: What You Need to Know

On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 directing all residents immediately to heed current state public health directives to stay home, except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of essential critical infrastructure sectors and additional sectors as the state public health officer may designate as critical to protect health and well-being of all Californians.

Californians are flattening the curve as a result of the statewide stay-at-home order. On May 8, Governor Newsom released updated industry guidance—including for retail, manufacturing and logistics—to begin reopening with modifications that reduce risk and establish a safer environment for workers and customers.

California has a blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in the state with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities:

Blueprint for a Safer Economy


LA County is currently in the purple (Widespread) tier. Even though our city is reopening certain lower-risk businesses and recreational amenities, if the COVID-19 infection rate increases, Pasadena may restrict some areas or revert back to opening of essential services only.

Strict physical distancing protocols and mask requirements are in place to protect you and others in our community from COVID-19 when visiting businesses and participating in recreational activity at City parks and other facilities.  

You should stay home if you have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms. Those with symptoms or elevated temperatures should not shop, get services in person, go to work, or gather with others. If you’re not sure if this applies to you, check your symptoms with this Symptom Screener.

Higher risk individuals (those over 65 or with serious medical conditions) should continue to stay home until the end of the statewide Stay at Home Order. Minimize errands by getting groceries delivered or asking for help from friends or family.

Shop safely! Crowded settings increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Wear a mask that adequately covers your nose and mouth, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands when you get home.

The following businesses and services remain closed:

  • Bars, unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor meal service. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.
  • Nightclubs
  • Saunas and steam rooms
  • Indoor playgrounds such as bounce centers, ball pits and laser tag
  • Convention centers and concert venues
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Theme parks and festivals
  • Schools (unless return to school waiver for TK-2nd grade in-person instruction is approved by Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and California Department of Public Health or reopening documents have been submitted to PPHD. See details.)

Closed for indoor operations:

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Wineries and tasting rooms
  • Movie theaters
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Zoos and museums
  • Cardrooms

Closed for indoor operations and activities unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pickup:

  • Fitness centers
  • Places of worship
  • Personal care services, body waxing and tattoo parlors (able to operate indoors at 25% capacity)
  • Offices for non-essential infrastructure sectors
  • Cardrooms
  • Protests

Visit the state's Stay Home Q&A page for additional information.


Face masks worn by the general public should not be medical-grade masks or N95 respirators. These should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders. Instead, the general public should wear cloth face masks or single-use, disposable masks.


  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need.
  • Gather indoors with people who live outside your household.
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out.
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility.

Is this order mandatory? What happens if I don’t comply?

Yes. This is a legally enforceable order. It is against the law to violate this order, and you may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for doing so.

Why is this happening now?

The Safer at Home Order was issued because it is urgent that we slow and stop the spread of COVID-19.

The virus spreads easily, and this order is intended to prevent the spread of this disease from overwhelming our healthcare system. The goal here is to “flatten the curve” to slow down the spread of the virus and ensure we have adequate health care resources for those who get sick with COVID-19 and those who need emergency medical care for accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other routine medical conditions.

When does the order go into effect and how long will it last?

The Safer at Home Order went into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020. We want to be sure the order is in place for only as long as necessary, and the mayor, in coordination with the Pasadena Public Health Department, will be closely monitoring the situation every day in order to determine what adjustments are appropriate.

Even though the city is reopening certain lower-risk businesses and recreational amenities, if the COVID-19 infection rate increases, Pasadena may restrict some areas or revert back to opening of essential services only.

Can the order be changed?

Yes. It was important to get the Safer at Home Order in place quickly given the spread of the virus in Southern California. However, it can and will likely be updated as conditions warrant. Keep checking the website for updates to the health order. You can also sign up for COVID-19 email updates. Any updates will also be shared with local media.

What are the social distancing guidelines I need to follow?

The best way to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:

  • Avoid gatherings and crowds (stay at least 6 feet away from others).
  • Wear a mask whenever you're in public and can't maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet or more from others.
  • Reduce the time you are around others outside the home, even when at least 6 feet away.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face.

When practicing social distancing, how far should I stay away from others if I must be away from my home?

At least six (6) feet, which is appropriately two to three steps away, including if you are on the bus or train. This is why it’s important to only take public transportation for essential activities—you want to help everyone be able to practice social distancing.

What if I need to visit a healthcare provider?

If you are feeling sick, first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center.

Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you have deemed that you have an actual emergency.

For purposes of this order, individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any healthcare provider, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical and scientific research facilities, laboratories, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, veterinary care providers, mental health providers, physical therapists and chiropractors, cannabis dispensaries with medicinal permits, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services, manufacturers and suppliers.

Are financial resources available to help me during this time?

Yes. Please refer to the following links:

LA County Department of Public Social Services Financial Resources for Residents Impacted by COVID-19

Disaster Assistance Loans for LA County small businesses impacted by COVID-19

LA County Tax Collector COVID-19 FAQs

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Coronavirus Tax Relief

Get Financial Help | CA.gov

Can I still get deliveries from online stores?

Yes. The mail and other delivery services to your home can continue to function, as can food delivery services. Just keep 6 feet between you and the person delivering the item.

Can I use ride share, on demand service, or a taxi?

You should avoid being in a vehicle with anyone who doesn't live with you. In circumstances under which such transportation is needed, you must wear a face mask over your nose and mouth, practice social distancing, and use hand hand sanitizer or wash your hands before and after rides. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers, like Uber and Lyft, providing transportation services necessary for essential activities and other purposes are expressly authorized in the Safer at Home Order.

Can I take public transportation (bus, subway, train)?

You can ride Pasadena Transit and Dial-A-Ride to work, the grocery store, the doctor's office, and any other essential travel destination for FREE. All Pasadena Transit monthly passes will be automatically extended and honored until further notice. All Pasadena Transit vehicles are cleaned thoroughly at least once per day. This means that every surface from floor to ceiling is disinfected.

When using public transit, you must wear a face mask over your nose and mouth, and maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you and others when possible.

View Metro updates and service adjustments.

Can I travel for vacation?

Avoid travelling long distances for vacations or pleasure as much as possible. This is to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do not travel if you are sick, or if someone in your household has had COVID-19 in the last two weeks. Do not travel with someone who is sick.

On November 13, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a travel advisory:

Travel Advisory for Nonessential Travel
  1. Individuals arriving in California from other states or countries, including returning California residents, should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel.
  2. Californians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid nonessential travel to other states or countries. Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to California.

Nonessential travel” includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

Essential travel” includes work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

Before travelling away from home, consider these questions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel guidance:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you are traveling?
  • Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very sick from COVID-19?
  • Will you be able to keep 6 feet of physical distance from others during or after your trip?

If you do travel, take steps to keep everyone safe like wearing a mask, keeping 6 feet of physical distance from those not in your household, and washing your hands frequently.

Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?

No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items whenever you need them, as stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open and are frequently restocking. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally do. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.

What should I do if I’m sick or a family member is sick?

If you are feeling sick, please first call your primary care doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. Check online resources like the CDC website if you are worried that you or a loved one has the COVID-19 virus. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you have deemed that you have an actual emergency. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

What should I do if I’m sick or a family member is sick and needs to go to the hospital or a medical provider? How can I protect others?

If possible, walk or drive yourself to the hospital or medical provider. If someone else in your home is sick and can drop you off, that is another good option.

Medical masks and N-95 respirators are reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wear a face mask around your mouth and nose to reduce droplets when you cough and sneeze. Wearing a mask does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others.

For additional guidance on masks, including how to clean, visit the CDC website.

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Be sure that you protect them and you by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue.

Additional public health guidance for individuals with access and functional needs.

What if I am diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus or have been exposed to someone who was?

Individuals who have COVID-19 (a positive COVID-19 test OR a presumed diagnosis by a healthcare provider) are required to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms AND at least 3 days after they are symptom free.

Individuals who have had contact with someone with COVID-19 must quarantine themselves for 14 days since their last exposure to that person to prevent potentially exposing others to the virus.

Contact your healthcare provider if you have additional questions, or visit cityofpasadena.net/COVID19.

Understanding Isolation, Quarantine, and Self-Monitoring
Pasadena Public Health Officer Isolation Order
Pasadena Public Health Officer Quarantine Order

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

Generally no. There are limited exceptions, such as if you are going to the hospital with a minor who is under 18 or someone who is developmentally disabled and needs assistance. For most other situations, the Safer at Home Order prohibits non-necessary visitation to these kinds of facilities. If you need more information, please contact the facility directly by phone. This is difficult, but necessary in order to protect hospital staff and other patients.

What is Pasadena doing to address COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness?

The Pasadena Partnership to End Homelessness is carefully monitoring the developments related to COVID-19 in collaboration with the Pasadena Public Health Department and taking appropriate preventative and preparation measures informed by federal, state and local guidelines.

These measures include but are not limited to securing and placing hand washing stations across the city in areas that are accessible to our homeless neighbors; procuring and siting a mobile shower service to meet the basic hygiene needs of our unsheltered neighbors; working to assemble hygiene kits that contain information on available resources, including the location of hygiene facilities; and utilizing hotel/motel rooms to provide immediate accommodations to seniors and other high-risk groups with underlying health conditions.

For more information, visit https://pasadenapartnership.org/covid-19/ .

What do I do about my kids? I have to work.

If your child’s school is closed, and you have to miss work to be there for them, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Learn more.

Does the order allow me to have my children in childcare?

Childcare facilities may only operate if they can safely do so. View the public health reopening protocol for childcare programs.

How will I entertain my kids? Can we go to the playground or arrange playdates?

Do your best to entertain your children with games, reading, puzzles, and TV/videos at home. Engage them in educational online tools. However, you should NOT take them to the playground or arrange playdates. Children are not able to maintain social distance, and even adults are prohibited from socializing with friends in this manner. It is essential that we stop the spread of the virus by not having in-person social interactions.

The swimming pool in my apartment complex is open. Is it okay to go swimming?

Residential pools at apartment and condominium complexes have not been ordered to close, but many property managers and homeowner’s associations (HOAs) have chosen to close pools, spas, and barbeque areas in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect residents.  If a property management company or HOA decides to open the pool, they are responsible for following these multiunit housing pool guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If your complex is not following these safety guidelines, you can call the Environmental Health Office at (626) 744-6004 or email pool inspector Elaine Zita at ezita@cityofpasadena.net to make a report.

Can I leave home to exercise?

People should only engage in exercise that enables them to keep a safe physical distance from others (6 feet or more). Walking, running and biking are good examples of activities that do not require shared equipment or close contact with others.

A mask should be worn when you're not able to maintain a safe physical distance when exercising, except when your airflow is restricted.

Can I still visit State Parks?

Many state parks and beaches are temporarily closed or have very limited access to protect public health. To view the closures and find out how you and your loved ones can safely visit parks and beaches that remain open, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

What do I do about my loved one who needs care from me?

You are permitted to provide care or to help with getting supplies for loved ones. But don’t provide care or pick up supplies if you are sick and, instead, find someone else to do it. If you are sick, please try to self-isolate or take other steps not to expose anyone else to your illness.

If my child’s school is providing food or meals, can I leave home to go to the school to pick up the food or meals?


How can I access free or reduced-price meals for myself or my family?

Schools, soup kitchens, food banks, and other entities that provide free or reduced-priced food goods or meals to students or other members of the public are encouraged to continue providing these services. However, food provided by these establishments to the public may not be eaten on the premises but must instead be delivered or taken away for consumption.

What if I’m in a line and there isn’t six feet between me and others?

You should still try to maintain a least 6 feet between you and others and follow everyday public health precautions.

All workers who have contact with the public, and visitors and customers at restaurants and retail establishments must wear a face mask over their nose and mouth to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Can I participate in political protest gatherings?

Yes, although in-person protests present special public health concerns.

Even with adherence to physical distancing, bringing members of different households together to engage in in-person protest carries a higher risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19. Such gatherings may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. For these reasons, people engaging in these activities should wear face mask at all times.

It is strongly recommended that those exercising their right to engage in political expression (including, for example, their right to petition the government) should utilize alternative channels, such as the many online and broadcasting platforms available in the digital age, in place of in-person gatherings.

However, state public health directives do not prohibit in-person outdoor protests as long as physical distancing of 6 feet between persons or groups of persons from different households is maintained at all times. Failure to maintain adequate physical distancing may result in an order to disperse or other enforcement action. Masks are strongly recommended.

State public health directives do not prohibit in-person indoor protests as long as (1) attendance is limited to 25% of the relevant area’s maximum occupancy, as defined by the relevant local permitting authority or other relevant authority, or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower, and (2) physical distancing of six feet between persons or groups of persons from different households is maintained at all times. Failure to maintain adequate physical distancing may result in an order to disperse or other enforcement action. Masks are strongly recommended.

Participants must maintain a physical distance of six feet from any uniformed peace officers and other public safety personnel present, unless otherwise directed, and follow all other requirements and directives imposed by local health officers and law enforcement, or other applicable authorities.

Can I go to a bar/nightclub/theater?

No. Entertainment venues like these are not permitted to be open during this order.

Can I walk my dog/pet?

Yes. Be sure that you distance yourself at least 6 feet from other pets and owners.

Can I keep working from home?

Yes, as long as your employer permits it.

What if I'm not able to pay my rent due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19?

On March 17, 2020, the Pasadena City Council adopted a resolution ratifying the City Manager’s Second Supplement to the Declaration of a Local Emergency, and establishing a moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent by tenants impacted by COVID-19. View the moratorium ordinance. The moratorium prohibits landlords from evicting residential and commercial tenants for non-payment of rent if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. Tenants are required to repay any back rent within six months of the expiration of the emergency period.

View additional information and FAQs.