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The State And Bay Area Counties Modify Shelter In Place Orders; Current Orders Permit Summer Camps And Schools To Provide Services For Children Of Essential Workers If Specified Conditions Are Met
A. Governor Announces that the State is Entering Stage 2 of California’s Four Stage Reopening Plan
Last month the Governor laid out a four stage plan for reopening the state as follows:
- We are currently in Stage 1, which involves only opening essential businesses;
- Stage 2 will be when some lower-risk businesses and public spaces can reopen, with modifications to allow for social distancing. Those include workplaces such as retail stores, but with curbside pickup. The Governor also stated that schools would be reopened during this phase.
- Stage 3 will be when higher-risk businesses will be able to reopen, with modifications. This includes nail and hair salons, gyms, movie theaters and sports without live audiences, as well as in-person religious services.
- Stage 4 will be the end of the state’s stay-at-home order, and this will be when concerts, conventions and sports with a live crowd will be allowed to reopen.
Governor Newsom announced that on this Friday, May 8, 2020, California will be entering the first part of stage 2 of the state’s four stage reopening plan.
The Governor stated that this first phase of stage 2 means that the retail industry, including the reopening of bookstores, clothing stores, florists, and sporting goods stores, would be able to open this Friday for curbside pickup, and guidance has been issued on this subject. The Governor said the state would not be opening offices, dining in at restaurants, or shopping malls at this time, but this will happen at a later date and is part of phase 2 of stage 2.
The Governor explained that counties can request to move more quickly through stage 2 if they meet certain readiness criteria, which will be released this week. Once submitted, these readiness plans will be available for the public to review. The Governor also explained that counties could decide to have more stringent orders in place than what the state requires.
While the Governor had previously announced that stage 2 would include reopening schools, he did not discuss the reopening of schools during his announcement. The Governor reiterated that childcare facilities are permitted to open under the existing order, if they meet the specified requirements set forth in the order.
B. Bay Area Counties Issue Modified Orders
On April 29th, six Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, and Marin) and the city of Berkeley issued modified Shelter-In-Place orders, which went into effect on May 4th, and will be in place through May 31st, unless local public health officers amend or extend it. The orders provide that a few outdoor recreational activities that were previously banned will be permitted and some outdoor businesses forced to close will now be able to reopen. Outdoor businesses that are allowed to resume include construction, retail nurseries, landscapers and gardeners, as they are lower risk. However, restaurants or cafes with outdoor seating are not included.
Under the new Shelter-In-Place orders, childcare establishments, summer camps, schools, and other educational and recreational programs can operate to provide care and supervision of children to allow all persons who are working in essential businesses, those performing minimum basic operations, and those operating outdoor businesses to access childcare.
The order states that to the extent possible, these operations must comply with the following conditions:
1. They must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
2. Children may not change from one group to another.
3. If more than one group of children is at one facility, each group must be in a separate room. Groups must not mix with each other.
4. Providers or educators are required to remain solely with one group of children.
The orders also state that “[i]n the event that the State relaxes restrictions on childcare and related institutions and programs, the Health Officer will consider whether to similarly relax the restrictions imposed by this Order.”
The orders state that “all businesses that are operating at facilities in the County visited or used by the public or personnel must, as a condition of such operation, prepare and post a “Social Distancing Protocol” for each of these facilities.” The Social Distancing Protocol must be substantially in the form that is attached to the individual orders. A copy of the Social Distancing Protocol must also be provided to each person performing work at the facility. All businesses are required to provide evidence of their implementation to any authority enforcing the orders upon demand.
These local orders are subject to the state’s stay at home order, and the state order controls in the event of a conflict. The state order defines essential businesses that are exempt as public and private childcare establishments, pre-K establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of: (1) distance learning; (2) provision of school meals; or (3) care and supervision of minors to support essential workers.
Thus, under the current state and bay area county orders, schools can only operate in person childcare of minors, including summer camps, for children of essential workers. The county and state orders do not provide guidance regarding how schools that open for the purposes of providing care and supervision of children of essential workers should be verifying that the worker is essential.
The modified bay area orders and updated FAQs for jurisdictions who have issued them are accessible below as follows:
- The Contra Costa County order is accessible at https://813dcad3-2b07-4f3f-a25e-23c48c566922.filesusr.com/ugd/84606e_99711106d2074bab8ef27cc16643957e.pdf. Updated FAQs are accessible at https://813dcad3-2b07-4f3f-a25e-23c48c566922.filesusr.com/ugd/84606e_4a19b2a563e64aa6bace6970ee3fa182.pdf
- The Alameda County updated FAQs are accessible at https://covid-19.acgov.org/index.page
- The San Mateo County order is accessible at https://www.smchealth.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/health_officer_order_revising_shelter_in_place_through_may_31_1.pdf?1588200596.
- The Marin County order is accessible at https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/marin-public-health-order-april-29-2020