Sacramento and Monterey Counties are the Latest in Northern California to Issue Amended Public Health Orders Requiring Written Social Distancing Protocols for Essential Businesses, Including Schools and Local Educational Agencies


Sacramento and Monterey Counties have joined the Bay Area and other Northern California jurisdictions in issuing amended Public Health Orders that, among other things, require Essential Businesses, including schools and educational institutions, to prepare and implement written Social Distancing Protocols.

The amended Orders from Sacramento and Monterey Counties closely follow and track the additional requirements imposed by the seven Bay Area jurisdictions that issued amended orders earlier this month and extend the now-stricter requirements to May 3, 2020.  For a more detailed overview of those amendments:

Social Distancing Protocol Requirements

Under the new orders, all Essential Businesses, including schools and educational institutions, must prepare and post a “Social Distancing Protocol” for each of their facilities in the County frequented by the public or employees.

Each Essential Business must post their Social Distancing Protocol at or near the entrance of each of their facilities where they can be easily viewable by the public and employees.  The Essential Businesses must also provide a copy of the Social Distancing Protocol to each employee who performs any work at the facility.  An Essential Business must provide evidence of its implementation of the Social Distancing Protocol to authorities upon demand.  It is recommended that businesses post and provide the Social Distancing Protocol in any language applicable to the needs of their employees and customers.  Businesses should be able to tell authorities that everyone can understand the protocol without the need for the viewer to obtain a translation.

The Orders include a form Social Distancing Protocol as Appendix A, and require that each Social Distancing Protocol be in substantially that same form.  To access the form Social Distancing Protocol, click here for Sacramento (Appendix A located at the end of the order) and click here for Monterey.

Each Social Distancing Protocol must explain how the business is achieving the following, as applicable:

  1. Limiting the number of people who can enter into the facility at any one time to ensure that people in the facility can easily maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another at all times, except as required to complete the Essential Business activity;
  2. Where lines may form at a facility, marking six-foot increments at a minimum, establishing where individuals should stand to maintain adequate social distancing;
  3. Providing hand sanitizer, soap and water, or effective disinfectant at or near the entrance of the facility and in other appropriate areas for use by the public and employees, and in locations where there is high-frequency employee interaction with members of the public (e.g. cashiers);
  4. Providing for contactless payment systems or, if not feasible to do so, the providing for disinfecting all payment portals, pens, and styluses after each use;
  5. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting other high-touch surfaces;
  6. Posting a sign at the entrance of the facility informing all employees and customers that they should: avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever; maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another; sneeze and cough into one’s elbow; not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact; and
  7. Any additional social distancing measures being implemented (see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance at:

Looking to the future, we will update this legal alert to include other Northern California Counties as they join in with the Social Distancing Protocol requirements.  However, because of the ever-changing circumstances and amended orders, contact the attorneys at AALRR for the most up-to-date information.

Conclusion and Next Steps

All Essential Businesses, including schools and educational institutions, should take care that they do not run afoul of any employment or other laws in their implementation of their Social Distancing Protocol.  All other laws remain in effect while the Orders are in effect. 

If you have questions or concerns about meeting the requirements of the new Orders, including the Social Distancing Protocol, please contact the attorneys at AALRR to prepare or review your Social Distancing Protocol and your legal options in your particular circumstances.

This AALRR publication is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other AALRR presentation/publication does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Firm is not responsible for inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.

©2020 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

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