On May 8, 2020, the State of California applauded its citizens for helping to “flatten the curve” amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic and began the journey to recovery, initiating “Stage 2” of reopening the economy. 
 
Since then, many businesses and industries have been authorized to reopen, but a resounding question for business owners is, “Can I reopen, and if so, how?”

 

Has the state of California authorized the reopening of businesses like mine?

As of today, only “essential businesses” and “low risk businesses” are authorized to reopen. “Low risk businesses” include:

  • Curbside and destination retail (retail stores), including shopping malls and swap meets
  • Manufacturers
  • Logistics
  • Childcare for those outside of the essential workforce (childcare for essential workforce was previously authorized)
  • Office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
  • Select services: car washes, pet grooming and landscape gardening
  • Outdoor museums, open gallery spaces and other public spaces with modifications
  • Dine-in restaurants (other amenities, like bars or gaming areas, are not permitted at this time)
  • Schools with modifications 

 

Has my county been authorized to reopen businesses like mine?

At this time, most California counties have been authorized to proceed to Stage 2 of reopening. Although each County is required to follow California’s protocols, and each municipality within a County is required to follow the County’s protocols, please visit your County or local municipality’s web page for more specific information that may pertain to you as each County and municipality has their own guidance and requirements.

For example, Los Angeles County has published detailed reopening protocols and guidance that must be followed by all businesses reopening within the County. Businesses should review the Los Angeles County reopening protocols and FAQs here and here, including:

Businesses within Los Angeles County are required to abide by the following protocols:


Other local County and municipality information can be found here:

 

What steps do I take to reopen my business safely?

All businesses authorized to reopen are encouraged to take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and create a safer environment for employees and customers.
 
Before reopening, all facilities must:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
  2. 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
  3. Implement individual control measures and screenings
  4. Implement disinfecting protocols
  5. Implement physical distancing guidelines


California has further issued industry-specific guidance and checklists for all essential and low risk businesses that are permitted to operate at this time. These sectors should follow the state guidelines for reopening in order to create a safer environment for workers, prepare a plan, and post the provided checklist in the workplace to show customers and employees that the business has reduced the risk and is open for business.
 
Some of these sectors, include:


The following sectors, businesses, establishments or activities are not permitted to operate at this time:

  • Personal services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness studios
  • Indoor museums, kids museums and gallery spaces, zoos and libraries
  • Community centers, including public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas
  • Limited-capacity religious services and cultural ceremonies
  • Nightclubs
  • Concert venues
  • Live audience sports
  • Festivals
  • Theme parks
  • Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism – non-essential travel
  • Higher Education

 


As additional guidance is issued, we will keep you informed.

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