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More California Businesses Permitted to Open Starting Tomorrow Under Stage Two of Newsom’s Plan
May 7, 2020

More California Businesses Permitted to Open Starting Tomorrow Under Stage Two of Newsom’s Plan

Topics: COVID-19

Today, Governor Newsom announced new rules for some California businesses to gradually enter Stage 2 of reopening.  While the guidelines focused on reopening the retail, manufacturing, and logistics sectors, he noted that other businesses and industries, including seated dining at restaurants, shopping malls, outdoor museums and offices, will gradually be able to reopen during Stage 2.

Beginning Friday, May 8, the following businesses can open with modifications:

  • Curbside retail, including but not limited to: Bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, antique stores, music stores, florists. Note: this will be phased-in, starting first with curbside pickup and delivery only until further notice. For now, retailers should increase pick-up and delivery, encourage physical distancing during pickup, and install hands-free devices.
  • Supply chains supporting the above businesses, in manufacturing and logistical sectors. Manufacturers should close breakrooms and instead create outdoor break areas with physically distanced seating. Warehouses should carry sanitation materials during deliveries and use personal protective equipment for each stop.

The following businesses will be permitted to reopen later in Stage 2, or upon certification that the county meets the California Department of Health (CDPH) criteria (outlined below) and that the business is complying with specific industry guidelines:

  • Destination retail, including shopping malls and swap meets.
  • Personal services, limited to: car washes, pet grooming, tanning facilities, and landscape gardening.
  • Office-based businesses - telework remains strongly encouraged.
  • Dine-in restaurants (other facility amenities, like bars or gaming areas, are not permitted). Governor Newsom is expected to announce additional guidance on dine-in service next week.
  • Schools and childcare facilities.
  • Outdoor museums and open gallery spaces.

Industry Guidance

Before reopening, all businesses must:

  • Perform a detailed risk assessment;
  • Train employees on limiting spread, how to screen for symptoms, to stay home if sick; and
  • Implement a site-specific protection plan, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and physical distancing guidelines.

Regional and County Variance Criteria

Counties that meet the criteria set forth by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) may seek a variance to advance through Stage 2. However, to establish readiness for an increased pace through Stage 2, a county must attest to the following readiness criteria and provide the requested information as outlined below:

Epidemiologic stability

  • No more than 1 case per 10,000 people in the last 14 days
  • No COVID-19 deaths in the past 14 days

Protection of Stage 1 essential workers

  • Ability to support employees when sick or exposed
  • Availability of disinfectant supplies and protective gear

Testing capacity

  • Minimum daily testing of 1.5 per 1,000 residents

Containment capacity

  • At least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents
  • Ability to temporarily house at least 15% of county residents experiencing homelessness

Hospital capacity

  • County or regional capacity to accommodate a minimum surge of 35%
  • Hospital facility must have a robust plan to protect hospital workforce (like personal protective equipment)

Vulnerable populations

  • Skilled nursing facilities must have more than 14 day supply of personal protective equipment on hand for staff with ongoing procurement from non-state supply chains

Triggers for adjusting modifications

  • Metrics that serve as triggers for either slowing the pace through stage 2 or tightening modifications

If the county decides to pursue a variance, the local public health officer must (1) notify the CDPH and engage in a phone consultation regarding the county’s intent to seek a variance, and (2) self-certify through the submission of a written attestation to CDPH that the county has met the readiness criteria addressed above. All county attestations, and submitted plans for moving through Stage 2 as outlined above, will be posted publicly on CDPH's website.  It is critical that any county that submits an attestation continue to collect and monitor data to demonstrate that the variances are not having a negative impact on individuals or healthcare systems.  Counties must also attest that they have identified triggers and have a clear plan and approach if conditions worsen for modifying the pace of advancing through Stage 2, including reinstituting restrictions, in advance of any state action. Counties must also submit their plan for how they anticipate moving through Stage 2 (e.g., which sectors will be opened, order of opening etc.).

Governor Newsom stated that the reopening of higher-risk workplaces, such as hair salons, movie theaters, and religious services will happen in Stage 3, which could be months away.

Additional guidance, which Governor Newsom indicated would be released early next week, can be located at

If you are an employer with a business covered by Stage 2, we recommend that you review the guidance that is relevant to your workplace to ensure compliance with industry-specific guidelines, including social distancing and related safety protocols, perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan prior to reopening.  

About CDF

For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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