Seyfarth Synopsis:  On April 29, 2020, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties, as well as the City of Berkeley, issued updated shelter-in-place orders. These orders take effect May 4 and run through May 31, 2020. They nominally adjust the restrictions that have been in effect since March 17, mostly by allowing some additional outdoor businesses and outdoor activities to open. Sacramento County also issued an amended order, which will be in effect from May 1 through May 22, 2020. Like the Bay Area orders, it makes only nominal changes to which businesses may operate in Sacramento County.

Bay Area Counties

Since March 17, six San Francisco Bay Area counties have largely coordinated their efforts to combat the coronavirus, and ordered all but essential businesses closed. After renewed orders were set to expire on May 3, some businesses hoped that the force would be with them, and May the 4th would mark more than just Star Wars Day. Alas, this “new hope” has not manifested into reality.

On April 29, the Bay Area counties and City of Berkeley issued amended shelter-in-place orders that largely maintain the status quo. Non-essential businesses must remain closed, and the orders do little to broaden the definition of what is “essential.” Aside from Essential Businesses and Minimum Basic Operations, the orders allow the following to resume so long as physical distancing and industry-specific requirements are followed:

  • All construction projects that follow the Construction Project Safety Protocols appended to the orders;
  • All real estate transactions, with restrictions on open houses and limited tours;
  • Childcare, camps, and educational/recreational programs that provide care for small, unchanging groups of children, whose guardians are permitted to work under the orders;
  • Use of certain shared outdoor recreational facilities (these differ slightly across jurisdictions, but include facilities such as golf courses and athletic fields); and
  • “Outdoor Businesses” such as nurseries, landscaping, and agriculture that normally operated outdoors prior to the shelter-in-place orders.

The orders continue to require businesses to prepare, post, and distribute social distancing protocols. Appendix A to the new orders is a (very slightly) revised version of the template protocol attached to the prior orders. The most significant change is incorporating the mandate from prior health orders that employees and customers must wear face coverings. Per the orders, businesses must update their protocols to reflect this change.

The orders have different social distancing protocols for construction businesses. These businesses must instead comply with the appended Construction Project Safety Protocols.

Sacramento County

Sacramento’s new order is similar, but not identical to the Bay Area orders. It continues to require individuals to stay home except to perform Essential Activities, and all but Essential Businesses must continue to cease physical operations, aside from Minimum Basic Operations. The order, does, however make some different changes to what it deems “essential.” The key differences are:

  • Health care facilities can reschedule appointments for care that was considered non-urgent and canceled when the stay-at-home order was first issued;
  • Non-contact recreational facilities that involve shared equipment may open provided social distancing is followed and shared items are disinfected. These facilities include golf courses, shooting and archery ranges, and tennis courts;
  • Food trucks are now included as Essential Businesses; and
  • Residential real estate brokers can conduct in-person showings, provided they are limited to no more than two visitors, in addition to the realtor.

Unlike the Bay Area counties, Sacramento does not have a face covering mandate. The County still requires, however, that businesses continue to prepare, post, and distribute a social distancing protocol in a form substantially similar to the one attached to the order.

Workplace Solutions

It’s not too early to prepare for the future. Although the amended shelter-in-place orders do not lift most restrictions on businesses, companies should still start preparing to reopen. Each county indicated that it could revise the orders earlier if certain metrics were met. Seyfarth has developed a number of resources to help with post-pandemic renewal and recovery, and our deep bench of talent is always available to help plan for the day the Jedi return and sheltering-in-place is no more.