This is no April Fool’s joke. The same day the new Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act goes into effect, 8 Bay Area jurisdictions extend the current Shelter-in-Place orders and further limit the list of “essential businesses.
Aside from extending the Shelter-in-Place order to May 3rd, the new orders also:
- Limit activities at parks and other outdoor activities
- Close playgrounds and shared facilities for recreational facilities
- Close dog parks
- Require essential businesses to prepare, post, and implement a Social Distancing Protocol
- Limit the number of people allowed in a store at one time and providing guidance on how to control shopping lines
- Require companies remaining open to provide hand sanitizer
- Further limit allowable construction activities
- Eliminate the exemption for businesses that sell products that allow people to work from home
- Allow delivery of goods but not services to residences and businesses.
Fewer Essential Businesses Under New Stay at Home Orders
Even if you were an essential business under the prior order, or are an exempt business under California’s Stay-at-Home order, review your county’s Shelter-in-Place order to ensure you are still exempt from the order:
- Santa Clara County Revised Shelter in Place Order
- Alameda County Revised Shelter in Place Order
- Berkeley Revised Shelter in Place Order
- Contra Costa County Revised Shelter in Place Order
- Marin County Revised Shelter in Place Order
- San Mateo County Revised Shelter in Place Order
- Sonoma County Revised Shelter in Place Order
- San Francisco County Revised Shelter in Place Order
Remember, the counties and cities can create stricter restrictions than the state. Businesses exempt under the state order may not be exempt under the applicable county order.
Also, if you are an exempt business and you intend to remain open, you must adopt a conforming Social Distancing Protocol. The Alameda County Revised Order has a sample Social Distancing Protocol businesses and complete and post.
New Emergency Paid Sick Leave Answers
In other news, the Secretary of Labor’s FAQ’s regarding the FFCRA seem to confirm that the Emergency Sick Leave does not apply to business closures resulting from the shelter in place orders. Questions & Answers Numbers 23-25, and 27 indicate that emergency paid sick leave does not apply to worksite closures “pursuant to a Federal, State or local directive.” As a result, the intended federal safety net for employees unable to work due to such local directives appears to be unemployment compensation (and not federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave). By contrast, employees may be entitled to use state/local mandated paid sick leave for inability to work due to a shelter order (depending on the specific terms of the state or local paid sick leave law).
Question and Anser #25 is particularly instructive:
#25 If my employer closes my worksite while I am on paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, what happens?
If your employer closes while you are on paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, your employer must pay for any paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave you used before the employer closed. As of the date your employer closes your worksite, you are no longer entitled to paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, but you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This is true whether your employer closes your worksite for lack of business or because the employer was required to close pursuant to a Federal, State or local directive. You should contact your State workforce agency or State unemployment insurance office for specific questions about your eligibility. For additional information, please refer to https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/service-locator.aspx.
We are open and assisting clients throughout this process. Due to the volume of calls and emails, I may be a bit slower than normal, but please feel free to reach out if you have employment-related questions.
Information provided by Robert Nuddleman of the Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.
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The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. represents employers and employees in a wide range of employment law matters. Much of his practice focuses on wage and hour issues, such as unpaid overtime, meal and rest break violations, designing or enforcing commission plans, and other wage-related claims. He also advises employers on how to avoid harassment and wrongful termination claims and represents employees who have been victims of unlawful discrimination, retaliation or harassment. The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. helps employers develop good employment policies, and helps employers and employees with disability accommodation issues.