On July 1, 2020, as a result of rapid increases in the number of COVID-19 cases throughout California, and on the heels of the Fourth of July long weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom instructed businesses in 19 counties across the state to roll back their reopenings for at least the next three weeks.  The Governor’s instructions require the closure of:

  • All indoor, in-person dining at restaurants (outdoor dining and takeout are still permitted, so long as social distancing protocols are followed);
  • Indoor tasting rooms and wineries;
  • Indoor museums, zoos, and aquariums;
  • Indoor movie theaters and family entertainment centers; and
  • Cardrooms and satellite wagering facilities.

In order to comply with the Governor’s directives, California counties have begun to issue revisions and modifications to their existing Health Officer Orders.

For example, as of July 1, 2020, Los Angeles County amended its Health Officer Order to require the closure of the businesses listed above, although bars and wineries (both indoor and outdoor) had already closed earlier in the week.

Additionally, with a potential to impact all businesses in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County’s revised Health Officer Order requires businesses with three or more known cases of COVID-19 within the workplace over the span of 14 days to report the outbreak to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  Moreover, employers who have one known case within the workplace must have a protocol that requires (1) the infected employee to self-isolate at home and, (2) anyone exposed to the infected employee to self-quarantine.  Information regarding Los Angeles County’s revised Health Officer Order can be found here.

Accordingly, all employers in Los Angeles County should immediately ensure they have reporting protocols and procedures in place, as well as communication protocols, should any employee test positive for COVID-19.  In fact, it would be prudent for employers across the state to have these procedures and protocols in place, if they do not already.

Similarly, Sacramento County issued a revised Health Officer Order, effective at 3:00 p.m. on July 2, 2020.  The revised order requires all bars, brewpubs, breweries, wineries, tasting rooms and pubs to close and cease both indoor and outdoor operations.  The order also tracks the Governor’s directives with respect to the closure of indoor operations, as noted above.  Sacramento’s revised order can be found here.

The other counties impacted by the Governor’s instructions are Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Merced, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura.

Sheppard Mullin will continue to provide more information as new or revised public health orders are issued throughout California and across the county.  All relevant COVID-19 updates can always be found on Sheppard Mullin’s COVID-19 Insights Page.

As you are aware, things are changing quickly and there is a lack of clear-cut authority or bright line rules on implementation.  This article is not intended to be an unequivocal, one-size fits all guidance, but instead represents our interpretation of where things currently and generally stand.  This article does not address the potential impacts of the numerous other local, state and federal orders that have been issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including, without limitation, potential liability should an employee become ill, requirements regarding family leave, sick pay and other issues.