Stay Classy, Stay Home and Stay Safe, San Diego

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

  • By April 4, employees at grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations and other public-facing businesses must wear a face covering, and by April 7, public-facing businesses must establish and post a social distancing and sanitation protocol.
  • Failure to comply may result in a fine, up to $1,000 per day.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the County of San Diego has proceeded essentially in lockstep with the State’s efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. On March 19, as the full impact of COVID-19 was becoming evident, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, which directed all residents to stay home except as needed to maintain operations of federal critical infrastructures. On March 27, the County Public Health Officer adopted EO N-33-20 and its designation of essential critical infrastructures, specified the categories of businesses that may remain open to the public, and set forth the parameters of social distancing.

Less than a week later, and obviously frustrated by his perception that the public was not taking these orders seriously enough, San Diego County Sheriff Gore announced: “The days of trying to get voluntary compliance are really over.”

The San Diego County Public Health Officer issued Addendum 1 on April 2. Addendum 1 imposes tighter restrictions on social distancing and imposes more rigorous sanitation requirements, sets hard deadlines for compliance and establishes fines for non-compliance:

  • By midnight on April 4, all employees of any grocery store, pharmacy/drug store, convenience store, gas station, restaurant or business establishment who may have contact with the public must wear a cloth face covering as described in the California Public Health Face Covering Guidance issued on April 1.
  • By midnight on April 7, all businesses that the public is allowed to enter must prepare and post a “Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol” in accordance with a standard form, and must:
    • Post the protocol at or near the entrance;
    • Provide a copy of the protocol to each employee; and
    • Provide evidence of compliance demanded by any authority enforcing the order.
  • By midnight on April 7, all public parks and recreation areas must:
    • Comply with the Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol identified above; and
    • Close all parking lots for public parks and recreation areas.
  • Public parks and recreation areas shall be:
    • Accessible only from members of the public within walking distance of the facility; and
    • Used solely for walking, hiking and equestrian or bicycle riding.
  • The public is prohibited from engaging in active sport activities at public parks and recreation facilities.
  • Those who fail to comply may face a fine of up to $1,000 for every day of non-compliance. Residents are encouraged to report non-compliance to the 211 hotline or through a web portal.

According to Sheriff Gore, “[t]he message is going to go out to all of public safety here in the county that we will start issuing citations[.]”

Businesses must ensure they are aware of and comply with all public health orders related to COVID-19. Those who are found in non-compliance will likely face fines up to $1,000 per day of non-compliance in what is already a challenging economic period.

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