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Orange County Amends Its Re-Opening Guidance Regarding Office-Based Businesses

On May 4th, Governor Newsom issued a new executive order allowing for limited reopening of certain businesses. This initial allowance for re-opening was part of the State’s larger staged plan referred to as the “Resilience Roadmap.” The Governor’s plan identified that the State was in the early part of Stage 2 but set out guidance for counties to seek variances based on criteria set by the California Department of Public Health.

The State’s roadmap indicated that in the early phase of Stage 2, retail (curbside and delivery only), related logistics and manufacturing, office workplaces (where teleworking was not feasible), limited personal services, outdoor museums, childcare, and essential businesses can open with modifications, could open if the counties could meet certain variances.

In conjunction with the State’s roadmap, several counties developed their own reopening roadmaps, including Orange County. Orange County’s guidance, as such, stated that in early Stage 2 the following businesses could open: curb-side retail, manufacturers, and logistics.  It noted that the “Expanded Stage 2 with Attestation” (and specifically noted that none of these were open in Orange County until there was further guidance on facility adaptations from the Governor), included office-based businesses, and noted that telework remains strongly encouraged.

Subsequently, the Governor retracted on some of the requirements of counties, and, as such, allowed the state to progress to a more thorough Stage 2, including the opening of office-based businesses.

At that point in time, Orange County’s roadmap was more stringent than California’s guidance, as it stated that, among others, an office-based business could only open in “Expanded Stage 2 with Attestation,” not in “Early Stage 2 Opening.”

However, the County identified this conflict and, over the weekend, issued new guidance confirming office-based businesses may reopen in the County, where telework is not possible, following applicable guidelines. Office-based businesses will still need to comply with both county and state guidance for reopening.

The State has mandated that all facilities who reopen must:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan

  2. 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

  3. Implement individual control measures and screenings

  4. Implement disinfecting protocols

  5. Implement physical distancing guidelines

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2023National Law Review, Volume X, Number 147

About this Author

Jonathan A. Siegel, Labor, Employment Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Law Firm

Jonathan A. Siegel is one of the founding Principals of the Orange County, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He practices before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, state and federal agencies and courts.

Mr. Siegel also provides advice and counsel regarding labor and employment law with respect to various issues ranging from wage and hour law, reduction in force, WARN Act, discipline, leave management and harassment and discrimination issues. Mr. Siegel defends employers regarding different varieties of wrongful...

Heather B. Dillion Employment Litigation Attorney Jackson Lewis Orange County, CA

Heather B. Dillion is an Associate in the Orange County, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Dillion focused her practice on business and bankruptcy litigation matters including areas such as unfair competition, fraudulent and preferential transfers, breach of contract and business torts. Ms. Dillion has successfully written and argued several significant motions in both state and federal court.