County of Orange Allows Dine-in Restaurants, Retail Shopping and Manufacturing Businesses to Re-Open
Over the weekend, the State of California approved Orange County’s plan to move to Stage Two of re-opening (Stage Four is the removal of all restrictions) which allows dine-in restaurants, retail shopping, manufacturing, offices (where teleworking isn’t possible) and outdoor museums to reopen immediately under safety guidelines to ensure social distancing. Businesses must complete a safety plan and training, but they can do so on their own, without further approvals from any governmental body. Salons, religious services and gyms still are not allowed to reopen throughout the State, though the Governor has said he will announce next week when those establishments will be allowed to reopen.
Back on May 4, 2020, Governor Newsom had issued a new Executive Order that allowed limited reopening of certain businesses as part of the State’s larger, staged plan referred to as the “Resilience Roadmap.” In conjunction with this roadmap, several counties, including Orange, developed their own reopening roadmaps. Orange County’s initial guidance stated that in early Stage Two, curb-side retail, manufacturers, and logistics could all open, but more steps needed to be taken on the resilience roadmap to move into full Stage Two. As those of us who live here vividly recall, Orange County initially clashed with Governor Newsom, when he ordered just Orange County’s beaches closed down immediately after telling counties that they could implement their own plans for reopening. Local officials here decried the decision, with many OC cities filing lawsuits to block the Governor’s action. A week later, Newsom agreed to reopen OC’s beaches if they limited hours of operation and enforced social distancing guidelines.
As noted in the County’s weekend press release, “County of Orange has met the State’s latest metrics to remove its restrictions on the re-opening of more businesses.” The OC Health Care Agency (“HCA”) encourages business owners and operators review the State’s Guidance at https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/ and prepare a plan that can be implemented and posted at their workplace. Before businesses who meet the Stage Two criteria reopen, the HCA strongly recommends they perform the following steps:
- Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan.
- 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.
- Implement individual control measures and screenings.
- Implement disinfecting protocols.
- Implement physical distancing guidelines.
As noted in previous CDF blogs, employers need to prepare a Covid-19 Response Plan, including all of the foregoing steps set forth by the County of Orange as it follows the State’s resiliency roadmap. This Response Plan can be a supplement to your company’s injury and illness prevention program (“IIPP”), and can be used for training employees, and posting at the workplace along with your other state and federal employment law postings.
The language chosen by Orange County here is “recommends,” which means it is not mandated, and there is no stated enforcement mechanism. However, we all need to do our part to keep the reopen train running, so businesses should take the recommendation seriously, and take the appropriate steps to reopen safely and properly.