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Nonprofits Impacted By Governor Newsom’s Announcement Regarding New Regional Stay At Home Order
On December 3, in order to slow the unprecedented rise in the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new Regional Stay At Home Order (the “Order”).
The Order will take effect on December 5, 2020 in any region of the state, as designated by the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”), where intensive care unit (“ICU”) bed capacity is less than 15%. Should a region’s ICU’s bed capacity drop below that threshold, the Order would become operative, prohibiting non-essential activities by individuals and requiring that most businesses either close entirely or modify their operations to remain open.
Five counties in the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, and San Francisco) and the City of Berkeley have decided not to wait until the ICU bed capacity is less than 15%, and will preemptively institute the Regional Stay Home Order between Sunday, December 6th, and Tuesday, December 8th, depending on the county. The restrictions will be in place until at least January 4, 2021.
While the Order will have a profound effect on the individuals and businesses in the regions where the Order becomes operative, the Order does not impact telework and expressly exempts essential critical infrastructure sectors. Critical infrastructure sectors include certain community-based functions, such as human service providers for older adults, persons with disabilities, and personal assistance services providers; workers who support food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities for economically disadvantaged individuals; as well as other sectors identified by the State Public Health Officer. As a result, the Order may not affect all nonprofit organizations. If in a region impacted by the Order, nonprofits should determine whether they are nevertheless exempt based on the services they provide.
In addition, nonprofits should continue to ensure that their worksites and facilities are healthy and safe workplaces and that employees who are able to telework are permitted to do so. Those employees who are unable to telework shall observe all applicable health and safety protocols, including, but not limited to, observing face covering requirements, proper social distancing, and hand hygiene protocol.
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore attorneys are available to assist nonprofits that have any questions about the new Order.