San Diego Issues New Guidance for Businesses, Including Required Temperature Checks
San Diego County issued an updated emergency public health order, providing new requirements for reopened and essential businesses. The order became effective on May 10, 2020.
Notably, the new order still requires all employers to “make every effort to use telecommuting for their workforces” and continues to strongly recommend that all persons who are 65 years old or older and those with compromised immune systems “self-quarantine themselves at home.”
Other highlights include the following:
Temperature Checks: All reopened and essential businesses “shall conduct temperature screening of all employees prohibiting employees with a temperature of 100 degrees or more from entering the workplace.” Symptom screening (i.e., prohibiting entry to those with a cough, shortness of breath, and other specified Covid-19 symptoms) may be used “only when a thermometer is not available.”
Face Coverings: Face coverings are required for all persons two years or older when leaving the home, and must be worn whenever entering any business or within six feet of another person outside of one’s household or family. All employees of essential and reopened businesses must also wear face coverings.
Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol: All businesses that allow members of the public to enter a facility must prepare and post a “Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol” on the form provided by the County or on a form required by another governmental entity with substantially similar information. The protocol addresses signage at each public entrance regarding measures to protect employee and customer health and safety, including cleaning schedules to disinfect common areas, and measures to maintain space between people inside and outside the facility. Employees must also receive a copy of the protocol.
Safe Reopening Plan: All reopened businesses must also prepare and post a “Safe Reopening Plan” on the form provided by the County. The plan addresses appropriate signage to inform all employees and customers regarding measures to protect employee and customer health and safety (similar to the information required for the Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol), and must also be provided to employees While the plan need not be submitted to the County for approval “at this time,” businesses must implement the plan and be able to provide evidence of its implementation to any authority enforcing the order.
Childcare/Daycare Providers: Childcare and daycare providers can operate under specified conditions including stable groups of 12 or fewer children, and are exempted from the face-covering requirement while present at the childcare facility, but must conduct health check and temperature screening to ensure children and employees with a temperature of 100 degrees or above may not enter the facility.
Golf Courses: Golf courses may operate with social distancing protocols in place, but must conduct temperature checks of all employees and customers.
Schools: All public and private schools, colleges, and universities remain prohibited from having students gather on campus.
Outdoor Activities: Outdoor recreation is now permitted with varied protocol and social distancing requirements applicable to parks (no congregating), beaches (no congregating or sitting, but running, walking, swimming, etc. is permitted), camping (every other campsite unoccupied), and recreational boating (occupants from same household only).
Traveler Restrictions: For employers that require workers to travel abroad, the order requires a 14-day self-quarantine and monitoring for individuals arriving from certain international locations per CDC guidelines.
The good news is that many San Diego businesses may reopen and employees can now return to work. However, practical considerations may cause employers heartburn as they try to balance these new requirements with the realities of their workforces and workspaces. For example, the requirement for temperature screening of employees raises issues of compensable work time, reporting time pay for employees who are sent home due to fever, and the need to maintain confidentiality of any screening results. Employers must also weigh the effect of the increased likelihood of workers’ compensation claims by employees who contract Covid-19 and the effect of these claims on workers’ compensation premiums stemming from Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order mandating workers’ compensation coverage for Covid-19 illness affecting individuals who work outside the home.