Yesterday, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order mandating that all California residents remain at home, except those needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors. The Order is open ended and will continue to be in place until the Governor orders otherwise.
What does this mean for California businesses?
Essential Businesses May Continue to Operate at Full Capacity. The California Order follows the guidance from the federal government in defining businesses involved in Essential Critical Infrastructures. Workers supporting these infrastructures should continue to comply with guidance for maintaining a clean and safe work environment, but otherwise may continue business as usual. Essential businesses include those in the following sectors, and a complete list is available here:
- Chemical Sector
- Commercial Facilities Sector
- Communications Sector
- Critical Manufacturing Sector
- Dams Sector
- Defense Industrial Base Sector
- Emergency Services Sector
- Energy Sector
- Financial Services Sector
- Food and Agriculture Sector
- Government Facilities Sector
- Healthcare and Public Health Sector
- Information Technology Sector
- Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
- Transportation Systems Sector
- Water and Wastewater Systems Sector
California businesses will need to be mindful to review city, county and other local orders as well for further guidance. Whether an employer is or is not able to operate a physical location despite mandatory closure and shelter in place orders is a fact-intensive inquiry, and the attendant consequences can be complex.
In addition to navigating the applicability of the shelter in place orders, employers also have to consider the ripple effect, including the interplay between such orders and the recently passed Family First Bill, state paid leave laws, vacation payout requirements, and, potentially, the federal WARN Act and state equivalents.
It is prudent for employers that are unsure to seek the advice of counsel to help navigate these uncertain times.