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Extended and Updated County and City Shelter in Place Orders – Tougher Restrictions and New Obligations For Employers

Bay Area Counties San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Sonoma, and Santa Cruz and the City of Berkeley have executed updated orders extending the shelter-in-place mandates through at least May 3, 2020.

The orders went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 31 and are substantively the same.  Just like before, the extended and updated orders require people to stay at home except for doing essential activities. Non-essential businesses will remain closed.

However, the updated orders provide clarifying language and tougher restrictions as related to essential businesses and prohibited activities. In addition, there are new obligations for employers.

Expansion of Essential Businesses:

The list of essential businesses has been expanded to include:

  • Service providers that enable residential transactions (e.g., notaries, title companies, realtors, etc.).
  • Funeral homes and cemeteries.
  • Moving companies, rental car companies, and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities.

All essential businesses that continue to operate facilities must scale down operations to their essential components only.

New Obligation for Employers:

Employers operating essential businesses (except for those in Santa Cruz County) are required to develop, post, and distribute a “Social Distancing Protocol” no later than midnight this Thursday, April 2, 2020. The Protocol must be substantially the same as Appendix A attached to the orders.  The must be posted in facilities frequented by employees or the public. It must be displayed at or near the entrance of the relevant facility and be easily viewable. A copy of the Protocol must also be provided to each employee performing work at the facility.  Although Santa Cruz County is not officially requiring the implementation of a Social Distancing Protocol, essential businesses are still encouraged to do so.

Clarifications and Tougher Restrictions:

Construction.  The updated orders clarify that most construction, both residential and commercial, is prohibited, with following exceptions:

  • Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure;
  • Healthcare projects directly related to COVID-19 response;
  • Affordable housing that is or will be income restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments containing at least 10% income-restricted units;
  • Public works projects designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency;
  • Shelters and temporary housing (not including hotels and motels);
  • Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services for the homeless, the elderly, the economically disadvantaged, and those with special needs;
  • Construction necessary to ensure existing construction sites that must be shut down under the orders are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so; and
  • Construction or repair necessary to ensure residences and buildings containing Essential Businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed.

Recreational Areas.  The use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and similar recreational areas is prohibited. These areas must be closed to public use.

Shared Public Recreational Facilities.  Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls are prohibited. These facilities must be closed for recreational use.

Sports.  Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment must be limited to people in the same household.

Funerals.  Funerals are limited to no more than 10 people attending.

The orders also clarify that where a conflict exists between the county shelter in place order and the state order, the most restrictive provision controls.

If you have questions about these new orders, contact Ghazaleh Modarresi at or (408) 286-5800.