At the beginning of May, California implemented a staged reopening for businesses closed due to the shelter in place orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan, referred to as the “Resilience Roadmap” allowed for counties to apply for a variance if certain criteria set by the state public health officer are met. The variances allow counties to proceed with reopening certain businesses not permitted under the overall state plan.
To date, a majority of counties have been granted variances that permit dine-in restaurants, hair salons, and barbershops to reopen pursuant to specific guidance, in particular, pertaining to conducting work at these businesses.
As businesses prepare to reopen, they should remember that the state mandates all facilities that reopen must:
- Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
- Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
- Implement individual control measures and screenings
- Implement disinfecting protocols
- Implement physical distancing guidelines
In addition to the State requirements, the individual counties have their own health orders which at times include additional requirements along with state mandates. Many counties require businesses to post social distancing protocols at the worksite. For example, the County of Los Angeles has developed several protocols for businesses such as retail stores, hair salons, and restaurants.
Along with social distancing and similar protocols, many counties are including other requirements as businesses bring employees back to work. San Diego County, one of the first more populace counties to be granted a variance, mandates temperature checks for employees in certain industries. Sonoma County has deployed a cell phone application that employers are required to use (unless they can provide the county with the same information by an alternative means) which verifies that employees are symptom and fever-free.
As employers move toward bringing more employees back to work, they should review state and county orders to ensure they are complying with location-specific requirements. Employers will also need to continue to monitor changes as some counties have suggested that reopening may be rolled back as necessary due to COVID-19 spikes.
Jackson Lewis is monitoring reopening orders throughout California and employers can keep up to date with the firm’s COVID19 Advisor Resources that track state and county orders. Jackson Lewis attorneys can also help develop compliant safety and social distancing protocols for your business.