At least one citation, but cops mostly warning about shelter-in-place

Downtown San Rafael is relatively quiet these days because of the shelter-in-place order. San Rafael police hope it stays that way, so that people don't get exposed to the coronavirus.

"We've been out, contacting businesses and contacting businesses that are open," said San Rafael police Lt. Dan Fink.

Fink said most non-essential businesses - like hair salons - are closed. Restaurants allowed to operate for orders to go.

"I'm getting voluntary compliance from everybody. We have not had to issue any citations to any businesses at this point," Fink said.

But San Jose police said it issued one such citation on Wednesday. The offfending business wasn't identified.

Santa Rosa police are responding to complaints from the public and violations they witness themselves.

The department debunked an online report of an officer issuing $400 tickets to two people at a park for being less than six feet apart

"We are starting with phone calls. In some cases, our officers are going to the businesses in person just to do that same education and outreach," said Adriane Mertens, a Santa Rosa city spokeswoman.

But violations of the health order can be enforced as a misdemeanor. Police are targeting businesses that shouldn't be open, or people gathering in large groups.

In Fremont, Tesla insisted it was an essential business but ultimately suspended operations. But officers in Fremont and elsewhere say they won't be detaining people solely for shelter-in-place violations. They still need legal probable cause.

"We are not out there actively seeking people, to detain people and arrest people solely on this health order," said Fremont police Sgt. Ricardo Cortes.

Fink said, "I think as we move farther along into this shelter in place, I think people are understanding more and more what they can and cannot do.

Police say their focus this weekend will be at local parks, where they hope to encourage people not to congregate together while they enjoy the fresh air.