California Implements Regional Stay-at-Home Order Triggered by ICU Capacity to Curb COVID-19 Transmission

December 4, 2020
On December 3, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) announced a Regional Stay-at-Home Order (“Order”) that will be triggered if Intensive Care Unit (“ICU”) capacity drops below 15% in a given region. The Order will require Californians to stay at home as much as possible, close operations for certain sectors, and require 100% masking and physical distancing in all others. The Order takes effect on December 5, 2020. Thereafter, if a region falls below the 15% ICU threshold, it will have 24 hours to implement the requirements set forth in the Order (the “Terms of the Order”).
The Regions. The CDPH is tracking the state by five regions. No region currently meets the 15% ICU threshold, but some are projected to within the next week. The five regions are:
  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity.
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma.
  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba.
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne.
  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
Requirements. Under the Order, all individuals in the region are required to stay at home or at their place of residence except as necessary to conduct activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure, as required by law, or as specifically permitted by the Order. The Order does not prevent persons from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted by the Order.
Prohibited Gatherings. All gatherings with members of other households are prohibited in the region except as expressly permitted in the Order.
Closed Sectors. In any region that triggers the Order because it drops below 15% ICU capacity, all operations in the following sectors must be closed: indoor and outdoor playgrounds; indoor recreational facilities; hair salons and barbershops; personal care services; museums, zoos, and aquariums; movie theaters; wineries; bars, breweries, and distilleries; family entertainment centers; cardrooms and satellite wagering; limited services; live audience sports; and amusement parks.
Sectors Open with Additional Modifications. The following sectors will have additional modifications in addition to 100% masking and physical distancing:
  • Outdoor Recreational Facilities: Allow outdoor operation only without any food, drink, or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted.
  • Retail: Allow indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Shopping Centers: Allow indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Hotels and Lodging: Allow to open for critical infrastructure support only.
  • Restaurants: Allow only for take-out or pick-up.
  • Offices: Allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.
  • Places of Worship: Allow outdoor services only.
  • Entertainment Production including Professional Sports: Allow operation without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged.
Sectors to Remain Open. The following sectors are allowed to remain open when a remote option is not possible with appropriate infectious disease preventative measures including 100% masking and physical distancing:
  • Critical Infrastructure;
  • Non-urgent medical and dental care; and
  • Child care and pre-K.
The Order does not modify existing state guidance regarding K-12 schools.
Termination Date. The Terms of the Order will remain in place for at least three weeks from the date the Terms of the Order take effect in a region. If after three weeks the CDPH’s four-week projections of the region’s total available adult ICU bed capacity is greater than or equal to 15%, the Terms of the Order will no longer apply to the region. After the termination of the Terms of the Order in a region, each county will be assigned to a tier based on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy discussed in our blog post available here.
Interaction with Other Orders, Directives, and Guidance. When operative in a region, the Terms of the Order supersede any conflicting terms in other CDPH orders, directives, or guidance, including the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In all regions that are not subject to the restrictions in the Order, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and all other guidance will remain in effect.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, and federal, state, and local governments issue additional guidance, employers need to be cognizant of new guidance and requirements. For more information, please visit S&C’s page regarding Coronavirus updates.