San Francisco/Bay Area

April 29, 2020

On April 29, 2020, Bay Area Counties (San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo, Contra Costa, and the City of Berkeley) have once again extended their previous coordinated and identical Shelter-in-Place Orders until May 31, 2020 (“April 29 SIP Orders”).

The April 29 SIP Orders, which are effective May 3, 2020 supersede but are very similar to the Counties’ March 31 SIP Orders, with three key changes and some clarifications to the prior SIP Orders.  First, the April 29 SIP Orders allows certain outdoor businesses to operate if they can do so safely and consistent with recommended social distancing measures.  Examples include plant nurseries/garden centers, gardening services (landscaping), flea markets and car washes.  Restaurants, bars, and cafes (even those with outdoor seating) continue to be restricted to provide only take-out and delivery services.  Second, the April 29 SIP Orders allows for more outdoor recreational activities, such as sunbathing, hiking, golf, skateboarding and fishing.  However, counties will continue to enforce social distancing requirements to discourage gatherings of crowds.  Restrictions remain in place for recreational areas with shared equipment or high touch areas.  Third, construction activities are allowed to resume, but must abide by specified health protocols as defined in the appendices attached to the April 29 SIP Orders.  Essential businesses and outdoor businesses must continue to enforce social distancing protocols relevant to their business and contact with the public, and all individuals are required to wear face coverings when in public.

The April 29 SIP Orders clarified that real estate transactions (and those businesses supporting them, like escrow companies, title companies, and notaries) may continue to operate, provided that open houses remain extremely restricted.  People may move residences without restriction.  Childcare service providers (including those that provide child-focused educational/recreational programs, inclusive of summer camps) will be allowed to operate to provide childcare not only for workers of Essential Businesses, but also workers of Essential Governmental Functions, Outdoor Businesses, and those providing Minimum Basic Operations as allowed under the Orders.  A copy San Francisco’s April 29 SIP Order can be viewed here.

March 16, 2020

On Monday, March 16, 2020, San Francisco and six Bay area counties (San Francisco, Marin County, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties) implemented a sweeping order banning all non-essential gatherings of any size until April 7, 2020.  All businesses that do not provide “essential” services must send workers home, except that they may maintain Minimum Business Operations (the minimum activities needed to ensure security, maintain the value of the business’ inventory, process payroll and employee benefits, and similar functions..  These have been referred to a “Shelter in Place Orders” in the media.

Per this order, “essential” or exempt services include: healthcare workers, police, fire and other first responders; and utility providers such as electricians, plumbers and sanitation workers.  Airports, taxis and BART will remain open but only for essential travel.  In addition, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants for delivery only and hardware stores will remain open.  The directive allows people to go outside to run, hike and walk their dogs, provided they do so alone and keep six feet away from others at all times.

The order further provides that “routine medical appointments” and elective procedures must be cancelled or rescheduled.  If not cancelled, to the extent possible, such appointments must occur remotely.  While daycare centers may remain open, children must be kept in groups no larger than 12 and they must remain in the same group every day.  For a copy of this order, please see the following link:

California employers with questions or in need of guidance regarding how COVID-19 and the impact on its operations, should contact legal counsel.

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