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What is the difference between ‘stay-at-home’ and ‘shelter-in-place’?

A man walks alone while crossing Green Street in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, Saturday, March 21, 2020. Some 40 million Californians are coping with their first weekend under a statewide order requiring them to stay at home to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A man walks alone while crossing Green Street in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, Saturday, March 21, 2020. Some 40 million Californians are coping with their first weekend under a statewide order requiring them to stay at home to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

You may have heard the two phrases “stay-at-home” and “shelter-in-place” during emergencies and disasters such as hurricanes, chemical explosions and even during a pandemic like COVID-19.

But what is the difference?

Shelter-in-place orders are given when residents must stay inside their homes and should not leave at all costs, even for essential errands, according to The Cut.

Those orders are usually given after destructive hurricanes, chemical explosions and active shooting events.

Stay-at-home orders are more lenient.. The same principle applies, but you are allowed to go out for essential business such as work or grocery shopping.

During the order, all non-essential businesses remain closed and public gatherings are prohibited. Public areas such as parks, beaches and any area that brings in crowds will typically close.

According to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who issued the order Tuesday morning, essential businesses include, these are essential businesses.

Staying at home is not the same as sheltering in place, as you are still allowed to exercise outside, perform yard work or have outdoor activities with your kids. City and county officials are encouraging the practice of social distancing.