Emergency Sheltering During COVID-19

Wildfires, public safety power shutoffs or other emergencies could happen any time. Evacuations and sheltering will lVista Fire-029ook different under COVID-19, making advance preparation and flexibility even more important. 

Though California’s statewide COVID-19 stay-at-home order remains in effect, you should follow an evacuation order regardless of whether you have COVID-19 or believe you may have been exposed. 

Prepare Now

Building a “go kit” with the essential items you’ll need to survive on your own if you’re ordered to evacuate your home is a critical step to prepare your family for emergencies. Include hand sanitizer and face coverings for every member of your family in your go kit to help avoid spreading or becoming infected with COVID-19 during an evacuation. 

Temporary Evacuation Points

If an evacuation warning or order is issued, you may first be directed to a temporary evacuation point: a safe receiving site such as a parking lot or community facility where initial assistance, COVID-19 screening and direction will be provided. 

At a temporary evacuation point, you should wear your face covering and keep 6 feet of distance from any non-household members. If the site is a parking lot, stay in your vehicle as much as possible to reduce contact with others. For other locations, practice physical distancing and remain outdoors or in your vehicle as much as safe and practical.

Initial Screening

Expect to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure by qualified personnel when you arrive at a temporary evacuation point. Where you are directed to shelter will depend on whether you are COVID-19 positive or symptomatic, or in a high-risk or vulnerable category for COVID-19.


While shelter arrangements will always depend on the nature of the emergency, Placer’s shelter operator partners will likely favor providing hotel accommodation over traditional congregate shelters. Pre-packaged, single-serving meals will be preferred over common feeding areas. 

If congregate shelters become an option of last resort, shelter operators will staff them with trained COVID-19 response personnel and implement all possible sanitation and distancing measures. Anyone identified as COVID-19 positive or symptomatic would not be sheltered with other community members in a congregate shelter.