Orange County Amends Its Re-Opening Guidance Regarding Offices-Based Businesses

Jackson Lewis P.C.

On May 4th, Governor Newsom issued a new executive order allowing for limited reopening of certain businesses. This initial allowance for re-opening was part of the State’s larger staged plan referred to as the “Resilience Roadmap.” The Governor’s plan identified that the State was in the early part of Stage 2 but set out guidance for counties to seek variances based on criteria set by the California Department of Public Health.

The State’s roadmap indicated that in the early phase of Stage 2, retail (curbside and delivery only), related logistics and manufacturing, office workplaces (where teleworking was not feasible), limited personal services, outdoor museums, childcare, and essential businesses can open with modifications, could open if the counties could meet certain variances.

In conjunction with the State’s roadmap, several counties developed their own reopening roadmaps, including Orange County. Orange County’s guidance, as such, stated that in early Stage 2 the following businesses could open: curb-side retail, manufacturers, and logistics. It noted that the “Expanded Stage 2 with Attestation” (and specifically noted that none of these were open in Orange County until there was further guidance on facility adaptations from the Governor), included office-based businesses, and noted that telework remains strongly encouraged.

Subsequently, the Governor retracted on some of the requirements of counties, and, as such, allowed the state to progress to a more thorough Stage 2, including the opening of office-based businesses.

At that point in time, Orange County’s roadmap was more stringent than California’s guidance, as it stated that, among others, an office-based business could only open in “Expanded Stage 2 with Attestation,” not in “Early Stage 2 Opening.”

However, the County identified this conflict and, over the weekend, issued new guidance confirming office-based businesses may reopen in the County, where telework is not possible, following applicable guidelines. Office-based businesses will still need to comply with both county and state guidance for reopening.

The State has mandated that all facilities who reopen must:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
  2. Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
  3. Implement individual control measures and screenings
  4. Implement disinfecting protocols
  5. Implement physical distancing guidelines

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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