California Governor Lifts Regional Stay Home Order, Easing COVID-19 Restrictions Statewide
Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom ended the “Regional Stay Home Order” (the “Regional Order”) for every county in the state. The Regional Order was announced in early December and implemented a very high level of COVID-19 restrictions for any region of the state where the ICU capacity dropped below 15%. Since then, all of the highly-populated areas of the state have spent significant time under the Regional Order.
The entire state now returns to the color-coded “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” framework (the “Blueprint”) that was first announced in August 2020. (See our previous alert introducing the Blueprint here.) Under the Blueprint, every county in the state is assigned to one of four tiers based on the severity of the county’s current COVID-19 outbreak numbers. Each tier offers a different level of restriction. In order of increasing restriction, the tiers are as follows: (1) “Minimal” (yellow); (2) “Moderate” (Orange); (3) “Substantial” (red); and (4) “Widespread” (purple).
As of today, the State has assigned almost every county in the state to the highest “Widespread” (purple) tier. Under this tier, “[m]any non-essential indoor business operations are closed.” Nonetheless, under this tier, many businesses may open that could not under the Regional Order. For example, restaurants can resume offering on-site dining, but limited to “outdoors only with modifications” and hair salons and barbershops “[c]an open indoors with modifications.” However, office workers for non-essential businesses may only continue to work remotely.
Despite the loosening of restrictions that this change brings, it is not yet clear whether individual counties will issue their own orders that effectively maintain at least some of the restrictions of the Regional Order. In particular, any business that operates in a highly-populated county should take a cautious approach in determining whether to make any immediate changes to their working protocols and opening status until more information becomes available.
AALRR will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 restrictions statewide. Employers should take care to comply with all local and State restrictions and guidelines. If you have any questions about the changing restrictions, or what you need to do to stay in compliance with COVID-19 laws, orders, and regulations, please contact the authors or other attorneys at AALRR who can provide advice and counsel specific to your particular circumstances.
Graphic source: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/