State Issues Limited Stay at Home Order to Stem the Tide of Surging Cases
On November 19, 2020, California Governor Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued a limited “Stay at Home Order,” in response to the recent surge of positive cases of COVID-19 throughout the State. This Order follows the Governor’s action on November 16, 2020, in which he assigned the majority of counties in California to Tier One, the most restrictive “Widespread” (purple) tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which sharply limits businesses and various activities.
This Order applies to counties in Tier One of the State’s Blueprint, and imposes several important limitations, starting on November 21, 2020 at 10:00 p.m. For counties that move into Tier One (Purple) after the effective date of the Order, the terms of the Order apply at 10:00 p.m. on the second day after the county is assigned to Tier One (Purple).
- The Order prohibits all “gatherings with members of other households”, and all “activities conducted outside the residence” with other households, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. The State’s announcement indicated that this restriction targets activities between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., as they are “often non-essential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood for adherence to safety measures like wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing.”
- The Order does not limit the “operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or required by law.” This exception for “critical infrastructure” activities is similar to the exemption contained the Governor’s earlier Stay at Home Order.
- The Order is set to expire at 5:00 a.m. on December 21, 2020, unless extended by the Governor or Public Health Officer.
This Order is limited in comparison to the Stay at Home Order previously issued by the Governor on March 19, 2020. For example, it contains an explicit expiration date, rather than apply on an indefinite basis until revoked. Further, this recent order is not a strict curfew, as it does not prevent individuals (or a group of individuals from the same household) from leaving their homes. Rather, this order prevents members of one household from engaging in “gatherings” and “other activities” with members of another household between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
This order may be a precursor to additional state and local curfews. The Los Angeles County Health Officer, for example, has publicly stated that, depending on case numbers, the County of Los Angeles could be subject to a strict lockdown as early as this coming Sunday. We recommend that employers closely monitor the announcements and updates published by their respective Public Health Departments for additional local curfews or restrictions.
Please feel free to reach out to the Authors of this Alert or your regular AALRR counsel with questions relating to this new Stay at Home Order.
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 publication does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Firm is not responsible for inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.
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