Are You Helping Flatten the Curve? Guidelines for COVID-19 Prevention and Operating Your Business Safely

Flatten-Curve-COVID-300x115Is your business in compliance? The guidelines for operating your business while preventing the spread of COVID-19 are constantly changing. As your trusted business advisors, we would like to keep you updated with the most relevant information. It is imperative that you update your business’s Social Distancing Protocol to stay in compliance or your business could be fined by the County or forced to close.

Per the July 13th Statewide Public Health Officer Order, all bars, pubs, breweries and brewhouses whether indoors or outdoors must close. Indoor operations for the following businesses have also been restricted:

  • Dine-in restaurants must close indoor seating, but may continue operating outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.
  • Wineries and tasting rooms must close indoor services.
  • Indoor services for movie theatres and family entertainment centers must be closed, but have guidelines to continue with outdoor services (such as drive-in movie theatres).
  • Indoor attractions at zoos and museums must close, but outdoor attractions may continue to operate
  • Cardrooms must close indoor services.

The CDC recommends implementing the following measures:

  • All employees (and customers) must wear a face covering to enter the building – you may also implement temperature checks at all entry points to your workplace;
  • Post signs on entry doors and around workplace regarding wearing a face covering and instructions to not enter if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Employees should sit at least 6 feet apart – this may require changing the alignment of workstations to prevent employees from facing one another or set up physical barriers or partitions between employees;
  • Marking areas around workspaces or changing pathways to one-way directions to ensure six-foot distancing;
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least once a day;
  • Encourage hand washing multiple times throughout the day;
  • Set up handwashing stations or hand sanitizer stations (preferably touchless) throughout the workplace;
  • Provide basic training about preventing the spread of COVID-19 to all employees (i.e. how it spreads, common symptoms, how to protect yourself, frequent cleaning and disinfecting, and encouragement to stay home if unwell);

Please note that the State of California has ordered that all individuals residing in California MUST wear a face covering or face mask when outside of their homes, unless there is a specific medical reason not to.

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Not all guidelines are the same and vary depending what county you are located in. Here is a list of county-specific order and steps required to keep you in compliance:

Alameda

As of July 20th, Alameda County’s order allows for a limited amount of businesses to reopen; all individuals outside of their home must wear face coverings; all businesses must maximize the number of employees who can work remotely and continue doing so; all businesses must scale down to essential business operations only; businesses must limit the number of personnel who can enter your facility to allow for adequate 6-foot distancing; frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces and post signs informing personnel and customers not to enter if they have COVID-19 symptoms and to follow the recommended guidelines for six-foot distancing, and no unnecessary contact (i.e. no hand shaking); businesses must complete the COVID-19 Site-Specific Protection Plan (SPP); and if anyone in your facility tests positive for COVID-19 it must be reported to Alameda County Public Health. For the latest Health Officer Order, click here.

Santa Clara

As of July 13th, Santa Clara County has ordered all businesses to maximize the number of employees who can work remotely and continue doing so; is urging businesses to move operations outdoors (as possible) to allow for adequate distancing or to continue operating if you cannot meet the strict face covering requirements; ALL businesses must complete and submit a new Social Distancing Protocol to the County Public Health Department and provide copies to all employees along with posting copies of the signed “COVID-19 Prepared” and “Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet” around your workplace; limit the number of personnel who can enter your facility based on the 250 square feet per employee or 150 square feet per customer; and if anyone in your facility tests positive for COVID-19 it must be reported within four hours to the Public Health Department

For the latest Order of the Health Officer or more information, click here.

Monterey

As of July 8th, Monterey County has adopted the Statewide Public Health Officer Order regarding the closure of indoor activities and transition to outdoor activities.

In order for facilities to reopen, they must prepare and implement a site-specific Social Distancing Protocol to achieve the following:

  • Limit the number of employees who can enter the facility at any given time to obtain the minimum six-foot social distancing requirement;
  • Mark six-foot increments where customers must stand if a queue is needed;
  • Provide hand sanitizer, disinfectant and hand washing stations throughout the facility (both at entrances and in high-frequency areas as needed);
  • Provide contactless payment options, or disinfect the devices after each use;
  • Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects;
  • Post a sign at the entrance informing employees and customers to: not enter if they have a fever, cough or other COVID-19 symptoms; maintain the required six-foot distancing; sneeze or cough into their elbow; not engage in unnecessary physical contact (i.e. hand shaking)

Business owners should also train employees on reducing the spread of COVID-19, self-screening, implement screenings and individual control methods, and disinfecting protocols.

Here is the latest COVID-19 link to guidance documents, educational handouts, and posters for a variety of settings.

For the latest Monterey County COVID-19 data, click here.

Los Angeles

As of July 18th, Los Angeles County has ordered the closure of certain businesses, but has also set forth guidelines for businesses allowed to reopen. Please view the Order regarding moving to Stage 3 to see if your business qualifies to reopen.

If your business does qualify to reopen (or remain open), please continue to follow the following requirements:

  • The Social Distancing Protocol must be implemented and maintained. It must also be completed and posted at each facility or office located within the LA Public Health Department’s jurisdiction.
  • Lower-risk retail businesses must prepare, implement and post the Reopening Protocols for Retail Establishments prior to reopening for in-person shopping.
  • Non-retail lower-risk businesses (i.e. manufacturing or logistics) must prepare, implement and post the Reopening Protocol for Warehousing, Manufacturing and logistic Establishments prior to reopening.
  • For additional guidance or for protocols regarding your business that is not listed above, please check the Health Officer Order dropdown menu on the LA Public Health Department website. There are downloads available for each type of Reopening protocol required and translations in different languages are also provided.

Each Social Distancing or reopening protocol (depending on your business type) covers the measures that must be implemented, such as:

  • Continue to instruct employees to carry out their work duties from home
  • Instruct employees to not come to work if sick;
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, require that the employee isolate themselves at home and any employees believed to have been exposed immediately self-quarantine and get tested;
  • Conduct employee screenings upon arrival to the workplace;
  • If 3 or more cases of COVID-19 are identified in the workplace within a span of 14 days, it must be reported to the Department of Public Health;
  • Face coverings are required at all times (and should be provided by the employer if the employee does not have one but will have contact with others);
  • Separate workstations by at least six feet;
  • Provide hand sanitizer, disinfectant and hand washing stations to employees;
  • Allow frequent hand washing breaks to employees;
  • Limit the number of employees who can enter the facility at any given time to obtain the minimum six-foot social distancing requirement;
  • Mark six-foot increments where customers must stand if a queue is needed.

For the Los Angeles County daily COVID-19 data, click here.

Orange County

As of July 14th, Orange County amended their Health Officer Order and strong recommendations for all businesses allowed to reopen as follows:

If you are unsure if your business is allowed to reopen, please check the Orange County Public Health Department website for the latest update

To view amended orders and strong recommendations of Orange County, click here

For the Orange County daily COVID-19 data, click here.

Riverside

Riverside County is closely monitoring the statewide guidance regarding which businesses may open or should remain closed. Each business must create a safer, low-risk environment. To review the guidance for your business or to complete your industry-specific reopening checklist, please see the Riverside County Business & Community Services which include the following:

  • Create and implement a written worksite specific plan (including the process of reporting and handling a positive case of COVID-19 in the workplace);
  • Train employees on preventing the spread and how to self-screen;
  • Implement screening procedure and control measure within the workplace;
  • Instruct sick employees to stay home;
  • Encourage frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer;
  • Strongly recommend face coverings to employees and customers;
  • Provide break areas in open space to ensure physical distancing;
  • Frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces;
  • Continue to instruct employees to carry out their work duties from home (if possible);
  • Limit the number of employees who can enter the facility at any given time to obtain the minimum six-foot social distancing requirement;

For the Riverside County daily COVID-19 data, click here.

See the COVID-19 Planning Toolkit for Riverside Businesses for operating guidelines and tips.

If you have additional questions, please see the Riverside County FAQs

Call an Experienced California Business Lawyer Today

The COVID-19 crisis is presenting businesses with unprecedented challenges.  You should always have experienced business attorneys on your side who understand agreements and who can protect your rights. To schedule your consultation with one of our Los Angeles business attorneys, call Structure Law Group, LLP today at (323) 880-7500 or contact us online. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our San Jose Business Attorneys, call Structure Law Group, LLP today at 408-441-7500 or email us with any questions on what you can do to help protect your business in the current environment.

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