by Alexandra P. Saddik and Jonathan R. Babione
As COVID-19 cases increase in California, both state and local governments continue to issue new policy directives that employers must be aware of. Here is a summary of the recent updates.
California: The state recently issued a playbook for employers intended to clarify the policy and procedures for a safe reopening. Apart from creating a worksite prevention plan in accordance with the industry guidance, employers must have a plan in place for managing COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace. This includes working with the local health department to manage outbreaks and following state and local quarantine and isolation measures. The playbook also centralizes additional government resources employers can refer to in making reopening plans. For more information, check out the Employer Playbook and specific industry guidance located at https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/#top.
California also requires all counties who are on the state monitoring list for three days to shut down indoor operations of dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, cardrooms, gyms and fitness centers, places of worship and cultural ceremonies, nonessential offices, personal care services, shopping malls, and hair salons and barbershops. The state updated the guidance for hair salons, barbershops, and some personal services to allow for outdoor service.
Bay Area: As of July 29, 2020, all Bay Area counties are on the state monitoring list.
Alameda County: Alameda County (and the city of Berkeley) has been on the state monitoring list for more than three days, and thus is required to follow the state shut-down procedures.
Contra Costa County: Contra Costa County has been on the state monitoring list for more than three days, and thus is required to follow the state shut-down procedures. The county further extended the eviction moratorium through September 30, 2020. This means that business owners are protected from being evicted due to failure to pay rent if they can establish a loss of revenue that is related to COVID-19. Additionally, Contra Costa County passed an ordinance that allows businesses that fail to comply with the health orders to be fined up to $1,000. Businesses may file a written appeal within 10 days of being fined.
Marin County: The county has been on the state monitoring list for more than three days. Marin County also recently implemented an ordinance that imposes fines up to $10,000 on businesses that fail to comply with the COVID-19 health orders.
San Francisco County: The county has been on the state monitoring list for more than three days. San Francisco also updated its order on the use of face coverings. County residents must wear a face covering when outside their residence and within six feet of anyone, in situations such as sidewalks where distances change, in workplaces when not in an enclosed private space or isolated areas, and when preparing food or other items for sale. If someone is unable to wear a face covering due to medical reasons, the individual must have a written exemption from a medical professional.
San Mateo County: On July 29, 2020, San Mateo was placed on the state monitoring list. If the county remains on the monitoring list for three days, it will be subject to state-mandated shutdowns.
Santa Clara County: Santa Clara County has been on the state monitoring list for more than three days. The county currently has a moratorium on evictions for small businesses. Santa Clara County has issued additional requirements and mandatory guidance for businesses to follow for safe reopening; this information can be found at https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/business-guidance.aspx#business_safety_guidance.
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.