What does the new Regional Stay Home Order mean?

A response to your questions as well as some best practices around face mask accommodations

Regional Stay Home Order:

 The Regional Stay Home Order went into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU availability (currently Orange County is at 0% adjusted capacity). It prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing in all others.

Offices are required to allow employees to work remotely except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.

The order will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks and, after that period, will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%.  For regions under 15%, the Regional Stay Home Order went into effect on December 6th at 11:59 PM.  It will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial 3-week period. Learn more about this order.

Region Breakdown:

The state released a map of five regions and their current ICU capacity, as well as projected dates when regions will fall below the 15 percent threshold. The regions are:

  • Northern California (currently 29%):Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
  • Bay Area currently (17.8%):Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
  • Greater Sacramento currently (14.8%): Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
  • San Joaquin Valley (currently 0%: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
  • Southern California (currently 2.7%):Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura

Note: The City of Los Angeles has instituted a separate stay at home order. Details here: https://corona-virus.la/

Masks and Face Shields:

Masks are required everywhere you go in California and it is a struggle in the workplace to enforce with employees. Here is an FAQ on Face Shields that California Department of Public Health released about face shields being an accommodation and alternative for masks for anyone who is asking for a medical accommodation and providing a doctor’s note. Please be aware that face shields are not as effective at mitigating the risk of COVID infection as well as face masks.

California Occupation Safety & Health Standards Board:

December 1, 2020 the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board (board) adopted emergency rules that would be applicable to all employees and workplaces, including remote workers for at least the next 180 days. The rules would require employers to:

  • Implement a written and in depth COVID-19 prevention program;
  • Provide COVID-19 testing to all employees at a workplace where there was a COVID-19 outbreak (three or more positive cases in a 14-day period);
  • Provide at least twice a week COVID-19 testing to all employees at a workplace where there was a major outbreak (20 or more positive cases in a 30-day period);
  • Implement COVID-19 prevention in employer-provided housing and transportation to and from work; and
  • Other rules that materially affect daily operations

 FFCRA Pay (not new but a reminder)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: if an employee does come in contact with someone who is COVID positive or tests positive themselves they are entitled to up to 80 hours of federal sick time. Best practice is to provide the employee an FFCRA leave request form.  If you have not already, it is important you advise employees of the available benefit. Be sure to also advise your payroll company of the FFCRA leave so that it is coded correctly for tax credit. You can check the FFCRA FAQ’s on how to properly calculate pay via the following link: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions