California Issues New Statewide Closure Orders Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Synopsis: Effective July 13, 2020, California issued statewide restrictions on a number of business operations due to the resurgence of COVID-19. It ordered all bars to close for indoor and outdoor service, as well as indoor services for restaurants, wineries, and movie theaters. The State also closed fitness centers, non-essential offices, places of worship, hair salons, personal care services, and malls in at least 29 counties that have remained on the State’s watch list for at least 3 days.

On July 13, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the immediate closure of indoor operations of dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms statewide. Bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs statewide must close all operations—both indoor and outdoor—unless they offer outdoor sit-down, dine-in meals, and they may only sell alcohol with a meal. If operating outdoors, the State requires bars, pubs, brewpubs, and breweries to follow the dine-in restaurant guidance and encourages takeout and delivery services whenever possible.

The Governor further imposed restrictions on more businesses in counties that have remained on the state’s monitoring list for three consecutive days. Currently at least 29 counties are on the list, including some of the State’s most populous counties such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange. For these counties, the Governor ordered the following businesses and activities to shut down, unless their operations can be modified to operate outdoors or to offer pick-up service:

  • Fitness Centers,
  • Worship Services,
  • Protests,
  • Offices for Non-Essential Sectors,
  • Personal Care Services (such as nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors),
  • Hair Salons and Barbershops, and
  • Malls.

Although the latest State directive has not expressly indicated which office workspaces fall under the category of “Offices in Non-Essential Sectors,” the California Department of Public Health’s concurrently issued Guidance directs businesses to refer to the State’s list of Essential Workforce, issued as part of the March 19 statewide shelter-in-place order.

California’s patchwork of county orders, frequently imposing stricter restrictions than the State, adds another layer of complicity to the analysis.  Non-essential businesses considering keeping their offices open in the identified counties should consult their local County and City Public Health Departments, as well as any local orders, to ensure compliance with the State’s order.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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