This week, health officers in seven Bay Area counties each issued a similarly worded order for residents to remain in their homes and shelters without contact with others until April 7. The orders also closed down all non-essential businesses and gatherings. They were initiated to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

We strongly support these actions that required courage on the part of Alameda County health officers, and those from Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Santa Clara Counties, along with the cities of Berkeley and Oakland. At press time, Napa County was considering its own shelter in place order.

Immediate reactions have varied, from those who say the restrictions make sense, to others who admit they are really frightened, and a number who are angry because they see the counties and cities as overreacting. The requirements do create both personal and financial hardships. However, in the long run, they are expected to minimize the number of people dying, and the length of time the pandemic will damage our communities.

The Independent realizes the gravity of the situation. The change in daily activities and the restriction on freedom of movement can have consequences physically and mentally on ourselves, our loved ones and those with whom we have relationships. The economic impact on many will be devastating.

Essential services will continue throughout the counties from providers of public safety, such as police and fire fighters, utility and sanitation workers, hospitals and most other health care facilities.

We thank the leadership of Alameda County and other Bay Area counties for reducing the impact of the virus locally, and for setting a standard for the state, and even the nation, to follow.