Orange County Becomes Latest to Secure Variance and Approval from State to Accelerate Reopening Local Businesses Deeper Into Stage Two, Allowing Dine-In Restaurants and In-Store Retail to Reopen; County Officials Issue New Order and Strong Recommendations
Orange County Becomes Latest to Secure Variance and Approval from State to Accelerate Reopening Local Businesses Deeper Into Stage Two, Allowing Dine-In Restaurants and In-Store Retail to Reopen; County Officials Issue New Order and Strong Recommendations

On Saturday, May 23, Orange County obtained approval from the State for its variance request to move further into Stage Two of the California Resiliency Roadmap, allowing Orange County restaurants to reopen for dine-in service and previously closed destination retailers to welcome customers back for in-store shopping, provided the businesses follow County and State guidelines for reopening, as explained below.

In anticipation of the County’s advancement deeper into Stage Two, Orange County officials also issued a new Health Order and Strong Recommendations on May 22, 2020, which became effective May 23, 2020.  Titled “Orders and Strong Recommendations of the County of Orange Health Officer,” the County Health Officer divided the new Health Order into two sections—the Order, which is enforceable by law, and additional “Strong Recommendations.”

The “Orders”

Industry-Specific Checklists.  Effective Saturday, May 23, 2020, all businesses that are permitted to reopen in Orange County as part of Stage Two of the State’s Resilience Roadmap must comply with the State’s industry-specific checklist posting requirements.  Businesses reopening must post the applicable industry-specific checklist so that it is “visible at the entrance of the business and specifically include an attestation by the business owner and/or operator that the business has:

  1.  Performed a detailed risk assessment and implement[ed] a site-specific protection plan;
  2. Trained employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them;
  3. Implemented individual control measures and screenings
  4. Implemented disinfecting protocols; and
  5. Implemented physical distancing guidelines.”

For dine-in restaurants now permitted to reopen in Orange County, the industry-specific checklist posting requirements are available here.  For destination retail shopping and malls, the industry-specific checklist posting requirements are available here.  The State’s full list of industry-specific guidelines and checklists can be found here

Face Coverings.  In addition, the new Orange County Order also requires all Orange County residents and visitors to wear a cloth face-covering that covers the nose and mouth when (i) in a public place; (ii) visiting a retail, commercial or other business; or (iii) at work, and when they are not able to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from another person.  The face-covering requirements do not apply to children younger than two or anyone who has trouble breathing or who has a health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face-covering or requires assistance to remove the face-covering.

Self-Quarantine Requirements.  The new County Order also outlined new at-home self-quarantine requirements for County residents with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, those who “are likely to have COVID-19,” as defined in the Order, and those who have been exposed to COVID-19 to continue to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County.  See the Order for the specific self-quarantine requirements.

The “Strong Recommendations”

In addition to the Order, Orange County also issued new “Strong Recommendations” to Orange County residents and visitors to:

  • Maintain at least six feet of physical distance from another person who is not in their same family/household when (i) in a public place; (ii) visiting a retail, commercial or other place of business; or (iii) at work;
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick; not gather in groups; stay out of crowded places; avoid mass gatherings; wash hands frequently; wash face-coverings frequently; cover coughs and sneezes; and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily; and
  • Residents 65 years old or older and those with serious underlying medical conditions or compromised immune system are strongly encouraged to remain at home.

If you have any questions about whether and how your business may reopen, contact the author or your regular counsel at AALRR.

Categories: Return to Work

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