As California moves towards allowing businesses to safely reopen, we are here to help! On this page, you will find the latest government guidelines, recommendations, resources, and other tools to ensure employers and employees are able to return to work safely and informed.
This page will be regularly updates as new information becomes available.
- Comply with any of the Governor’s Executive Orders that are in effect.
- Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if employees develop symptoms at the workplace.
- Understand how COVID-19 is transmitted from one person to another—namely, through coughing, sneezing, talking, touching, or via objects touched by someone with the virus.
- Make health and safety a priority by implementing safeguards to protect employees and the public.
- Determine which safeguards are recommended or are required based on the Federal and state guidelines, including sector-specific guidance.
- Reduce unnecessary close physical contact (a physical distance of less than (6) six feet between people).
- Identify positions appropriate for telework or partial telework, including consideration of telework for employees who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 complications due to underlying medical conditions identified by the CDC.
- Stagger or rotate work schedules or shifts at worksites to ensure employees are able to sufficiently maintain physical distancing.
- Consider modifying employee schedules and travel.
- Limit non-essential work travel.
- Be aware of protected leave requirements and plan ahead for any anticipated workforce adjustments.
- Implement workplace safeguards as feasible or when required.
- Implement physical distancing measures consistent with the Governor’s Executive Orders and state guidance.
- Increase physical space between workers. This may include modifications such as markings on the floor demonstrating appropriate spacing or installing plexiglass shields, tables, or other barriers to block airborne particles and maintain distances.
- Review and follow any sector-specific guidance issued by the state that recommends or requires specific physical distancing measures.
- Restrict the use of any shared items or equipment and require disinfection of equipment between uses.
- Reinforce that meticulous hand hygiene (frequent and proper handwashing) is of utmost importance for all employees. Ensure that soap and water or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand sanitizer is provided in the workplace. Consider staging additional handwashing facilities and hand sanitizer for employees (and customer use, if applicable) in and around the workplace.
- Regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces (workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, doorknobs, etc.), as well as high traffic areas and perform other environmental cleanings.
- Consider upgrades to facilities that may reduce exposure to the coronavirus, such as notouch faucets and hand dryers, increasing fresh-air ventilation and filtration or disinfection of recirculated air, etc.
- Consider touchless payment methods when possible and if needed.
- Employers may encourage or require employee use of cloth or disposable face coverings as indicated by sector-specific guidance. If employers require the use of cloth face coverings, employers must provide cloth or disposable face coverings for employees.
- Restrict non-essential meetings and conduct meetings virtually as much as possible.
- Limit the number of employees gathering in shared spaces.
- Consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptom screening) if job-related and consistent with business necessity.
- Train all employees in safety requirements and expectations at physical worksites.
- Be aware of federal and state protected leave and paid leave laws (if applicable) and requirements for health insurance coverage.
- Advise employees to stay home and notify the employer when sick.
- Healthcare provider documentation is generally not required to qualify under federal and state leave laws due to COVID-19 related circumstances or to return to work.
- Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
- Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures.
- Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other.
- Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive "emergency sick leave" policies.
- Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
- Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
- Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.
- Vacation/Paid Time Off;
- Remote work;
- Work hours, including start/stop time, breaks, lunch times, flexible hours, and staggered work hours;
- Timekeeping including clock in/out procedures;
- Leave policies including sick leave;
- Travel policies including business and personal travel; and
- Information technology and usage.
For a comprehensive FAQ outlining the labor law complexities, check out Fisher Phillips "Post-Pandemic Back-To-Business FAQs For Employers"
Davis, Wright, Tremaine LLP have created a guide for employers, "Reopening California: A Guide for Employers", that provides an overview of new and key HR issues, considerations employers must make, options employers may have, and a brief summary of new substantive laws or standards.
- Determine maximum occupancy to maintain physical distancing requirements and limit number of customers on premises accordingly.
- Ensure tables are spaced at least six (6) feet apart so that at least six (6) feet between parties is maintained, including when customers approach or leave tables.
- Businesses will need to determine seating configuration to comply with these physical distancing requirements.
- Remove or restrict seating to facilitate the requirement of at least six (6) feet of physical distance between people not in the same party.
- If booth seating is back-to-back, only use every other booth.
- Limit parties to 10 people or fewer. Do not combine parties/guests at shared seating situations who have not chosen to congregate together. People in the same party seated at the same table do not have to be six (6) feet apart.
- If a business is unable to maintain at least six (6) feet of distance, except for brief interactions (for example, to deliver food to a table), it may operate only as pick up/to go service. This applies to both indoor and outdoor seating.
- Minimize employee bare-hand contact with food through use of utensils.
- Reinforce that meticulous hand hygiene (frequent and proper handwashing) is of utmost importance for all employees, including chefs, line cooks and waitstaff.
- Have employees wear gloves when performing cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting activities.
- If businesses choose to have employees use gloves, they must provide non-latex gloves and employees must prevent cross-contamination by replacing gloves after touching faces or changing tasks (e.g., food preparation versus taking out garbage).
- Require all employees to wear cloth, paper or disposable face coverings. Businesses must provide cloth, paper or disposable face covering for employees.
For a complete List of Protocols for Restaurants Opening of On-Sure Dining from the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, click here.
The City of Los Angeles has a released a toolkit for the Los Angeles Restaurants and Bars industry to plan for the safety of employees and customers.
- Store management should determine maximum occupancy to maintain at least six (6) feet of physical distancing.
- Limit the number of customers in the retail store and focus on maintaining at least six (6) feet of distance between people and employees in the store, considering areas of the store prone to crowding (like aisles) and limit admittance accordingly.
- Post clear signs (available at healthoregon.org/coronavirus) listing COVID-19 symptoms, asking employees and customers with symptoms to stay home, and listing who to contact if they need assistance.
- Use signs to encourage physical distancing.
- Frequently clean and sanitize work areas, high-traffic areas, and commonly touched surfaces in both customer/public and employee areas of store. Wipe down changing room doorknobs, walls, and seating between each customer use.
- Require all employees to wear cloth, paper, or disposable face coverings. Businesses must provide cloth, paper, or disposable face coverings for employees.
The City of Los Angeles has created a document to provide guidance for Los Angeles retail businesses to prepare for and effectively manage the safety of employees and customers as they resume or expand operations in the context of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to see full plan.
Check out the State's General Checklist for Retail Employers
The State of California has released a toolkit for Retail Industry Guidance, please make sure to compare with the County and City's guidelines to ensure full compliance.
- Contact client prior to appointment and ask:
- Have you had a cough?
- Have you had a fever?
- Have you had shortness of breath?
- Have you been in close contact with anyone with these symptoms or anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
- Reschedule an appointment if client answers “yes” to any of the questions above until client’s symptoms have been resolved, and fever has been resolved without medication for at least 72 hours, or at least 14 days after contact with a person sick with cough, fever, or diagnosed COVID-19.
- Review information about how COVID-19 is spread from one person to another: namely, through coughing, sneezing, touching, or via objects touched by someone with the virus.
- Record client contact information, date and time of appointment and provider for each client. If there is a positive COVID-19 case associated with the business, public health may need the business to provide this information for a contact tracing investigation. Unless otherwise required, this information may be destroyed after 60 days from the appointment.
- Immediately send home any employee with COVID-19 like symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, etc.) and not allow the employee to return to work until at least 72 hours after fever and other symptoms have resolved without medication.
- Determine the maximum occupancy of the business to maintain at least six (6) feet of physical distancing between clients and limit admittance accordingly.
- Limit the overall number of providers and clients in the business (including waiting areas) at any one time and focus on maintaining at least six (6) feet of physical distance between people in the facility except when required to provide services such as massage, haircuts, etc.
- Have clients wait in their car or outside to be contacted when the provider is ready for the appointment.
- Limit visits to scheduled appointments. Provide curbside pick-up arranged ahead of time for product purchases outside of scheduled service appointments.
- Assign one provider per client throughout the encounter.
- Ensure at least six (6) feet of physical distance between pairs of providers/clients. If necessary, use a limited number of stations and stagger shifts to adhere to physical distance requirements. Maintain at least six (6) feet of distance between provider and client unless providing service that requires provider to be within six (6) feet of client.
- Post clear signs listing COVID-19 symptoms, asking employees and clients with symptoms to stay home, and who to contact if they need assistance.
- Remove all unnecessary items such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, and any other unnecessary items such as paper products, snacks, and beverages.
- Provide training, educational materials (available at healthoregon.org/coronavirus), and reinforcement on proper sanitation, handwashing, cough and sneeze etiquette, and using other protective equipment and measures to all employees.
- Ensure break rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and that employees do not congregate in them.
- Thoroughly clean restroom facilities at least once daily and ensure adequate sanitary supplies (soap, toilet paper, hand sanitizer) throughout the day.
Check out the City of LA's complete toolkit for Barbershops and Hair Salons.
- Washing Hands & Hand Sanitizer: CDC guidelines shall govern the duty of all hotel employees to engage in frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer. As available, dispensers shall be placed at key guest and employee entrances and contact areas. At a minimum, this will include lobby reception areas and employee entrances.
- Signage: During all times in which the usage of masks is recommended by the CDC and/or other local health authorities, health and hygiene reminders shall be placed at high-traffic areas on property, including the front lobby area at a minimum, indicating the proper way to wear, handle and dispose of masks. Signage shall be posted at a minimum in the employee break room and cafeteria, and other areas employees frequently enter or exit. Signage will remind employees of the proper way to wear, handle and dispose masks, use gloves, wash hands, sneeze and to avoid touching their faces.
- Employee & Guest Health Concerns: Responding swiftly and reporting to local health officials any presumed cases of COVID-19 at the hotel property shall be a staff-wide requirement. Employees exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 shall remain or return home. While at work, employees who notice a coworker or guest exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 shall immediately contact a manager. At a minimum, hotels shall follow CDC guidelines for employers and businesses, including instructing employees to self-isolate for the required amount of time, as defined by the CDC, from the onset of symptoms and be symptom-free for at least three days without medication.
The City of Los Angeles has released a comprehensive toolkit for Hotels
County Protocol for Reopening Hotels
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The CDC has created helpful pages that outline coronavirus guidance for businesses and workplaces and how to prepare your small business to deal with the pandemic.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA has issued a 33-page document outlining recommendations for creating a safe workplace in the pandemic age.
- Guidelines for Opening Up America Again: The Trump administration also released a three-phase set of guidelines for states, based on advice from public health experts. Having a clear understanding of each phase and knowing what phase your state is in can help your business prepare to ramp up operations.
The CDC has issued a decision-tree guideline for when general offices and restaurants/bars are allowed to fully reopen. Workplace Decision Tree Restaurants and Bars Decision Tree
- Governor Newsom has issued a 4 stage Resilience Roadmap for Reopening California. Having a clear understanding of each stage and knowing what stage LA County is in can help your business prepare for reopening.
- Before reopening, all California facilities must:
- Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
- Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
- Implement individual control measures and screenings
- Implement disinfecting protocols
- Implement physical distancing guidelines
- The County of Los Angeles Public Health Department has issued it's own Roadmap to Recovery to deal with the County's unique risks and control of the pandemic.
- The County is regularly updating a list of businesses that are allowed to re-open, listed by date Click Here to Learn More.
- After the State of California set minimum standards for local jurisdictions, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued safety protocols that are required for all businesses operating within the City of Los Angeles. The County’s required protocols are available for download HERE. Businesses should follow these protocols and directives. Additionally, the City of Los Angeles developed Safer L.A. Toolkits to support businesses operating safely.
- Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect.
- Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.
- Cleaning with soap and water reduces number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
- Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
- More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use.
- Surfaces and objects in public places, such as shopping carts and point of sale keypads should be cleaned and disinfected before each use.
- High touch surfaces include: Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
- Recommend use of EPA-registered household disinfectant.
- Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
- Many products recommend:Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label).
- Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
- Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.
- Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards
- Ensure adequate ventilation
- Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
- Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label)
- Avoid mixing chemical products
- Label diluted cleaning solutions
- Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets
- You should never eat, drink, breathe or inject these products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm. Do not wipe or bathe pets with these products or any other products that are not approved for animal use.
Additional considerations for employers
- Educate workers performing cleaning, laundry, and trash pick-up to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
- Provide instructions on what to do if they develop symptoms within 14 days after their last possible exposure to the virus.
- Develop policies for worker protection and provide training to all cleaning staff on site prior to providing cleaning tasks.
- Training should include when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to properly don (put on), use, and doff (take off) PPE, and how to properly dispose of PPE.
- Ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).
- Comply with OSHA’s standards on Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030), including proper disposal of regulated waste, and PPE (29 CFR 1910.132).