California - COVID-19 Covered

California

Total Cases: 253,270 (July 5)
Tests Administered: 4,553,031 (July 4)
Fatalities: 6,334 (July 5)
Testing:
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in California can be found here.
  • Governor Newsom announced the launch of a new aggregated reporting and forecasting site to help Californians understand testing data and see what the trends are. (June 25)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • The state has designated gas stations, pharmacies, food services (including grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants), banks, laundromats/laundry services, and some state and local government functions, as essential businesses and services. (March 20)
  • The City of Los Angeles has reportedly declared cannabis dispensaries as “essential businesses.” (March 20)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order allowing retailers to temporarily pause in-store redemption of beverage containers in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It also temporarily suspends the requirement for recycling centers to hold a minimum number of hours of operation. (June 22)
  • The California Senate is considering a bill that would expand the use of paid family leave for those who need to take time off to care for a minor child whose school has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is currently in committee. (June 18)
  • The California Assembly is considering a bill that would make it unlawful for employers to refuse to grant their employees up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave to care for a family member sick with COVID-19. The bill is currently in committee. (June 18)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order temporarily broadening the capability of California counties to enroll people into the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) program. (June 15)
  • The California Department of Public Health released new guidance for the entertainment industry, allowing music, television and film production to resume in the state on June 12, subject to approval by county health officials. (June 5)
  • The California Department of Public Health released new guidance for several business sectors as the state prepares to reopen, including day camps, casinos located on tribal lands, and professional sports (without live audiences). (June 5)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order extending certain procedural deadlines of the California Department of Industrial Relations by 60 days, including the deadline for workers to file wage claims with the Labor Commissioner and the deadline for Workers’ Compensation Administrative Law Judges to issue decisions. (May 8)
  • Governor Newsom announced more specific guidelines businesses will have to follow in order to reopen. According to the new guidance, retail businesses like bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores, and florists, will be allowed to reopen for curbside pickup beginning May 8, but will be required to develop contactless payment procedures and other measures. Manufacturers and logistics sectors will also be permitted to resume operations, so long as workers can maintain physical distance and have access to personal protection gear. (May 7)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order to make it easier for essential workers who contract COVID-19 to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. (May 6)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order temporarily broadening the capability of counties to enroll people into the California Work Opportunity & Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) program using various eligibility verification methods due to social distancing requirements. Additionally, the order will expand the opportunity for individuals to qualify for a limited amount of lump-sum financial assistance instead of receiving CalWORKS under certain circumstances. (May 1)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order that would give two weeks of paid sick leave to California workers from large employers in the food industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 16)
  • Governor Newsom announced the launch of OnwardCA, a job-matching website that targets those who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 7)
  • The state has declared that individuals unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 can file a Disability Insurance claim, which “provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages.” (March 20)
  • Individuals who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member can file a Paid Family Leave claim. (March 20)
  • Workers who have experienced reduced hours can file for unemployment benefits, and Governor Newsom signed an executive order that waives the one-week unpaid waiting period for these benefits. (March 12)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Newsom issued a proclamation of a budget emergency to make additional funds available for the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring funding for personal protective equipment, medical equipment and other expenditures. (June 25)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through July 28. (May 29)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order waiving certain programmatic and administrative requirements that restrict childcare and afterschool programs from serving children of essential infrastructure workers. (May 29)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order to address a variety of issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including to help ease the strain on domestic violence service providers, making it easier to register for Cal Grants, and extending the timeframe for local governments to submit claims for reimbursement to the State Controller’s Office. (May 19)
  • Governor Newsom joined the other governors and legislators from five western states in requesting $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to states and local governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to preserve core government services like public health, public safety and public education, and help people get back to work. (May 11)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order waiving penalties for property taxes paid after April 10 for taxpayers who demonstrate they have experienced financial hardship. (May 6)
  • Governor Newsom announced the expansion of the state’s Farm to Family program to help meet the growing demand of California food banks. (April 29)
  • Governor Newsom announced a series of initiatives to support vulnerable elderly Californians who are isolating at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a meal delivery program, a partnership to make wellness check-in calls, and the expansion of Friendship Line California to help combat social isolation. (April 24)
  • Governor Newsom announced California had acquired more than 15,000 hotel rooms to shelter homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 18)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order allowing for temporary waivers to certain foster youth programs to ensure continuity of care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 17)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order that would allow federal stimulus checks to flow directly to custodial parents owed back child support payments. (April 16)
  • Governor Newsom announced $125 million in disaster relief (including $75 million from the state and $50 million pledged by various philanthropic partners) for working Californians, the first statewide public-private partnership that will provide financial support to undocumented immigrants impacted by COVID-19. (April 15)
  • Governor Newsom announced a $42 million investment to protect younger residents at greater risk for abuse and mistreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, including more than $27 million available to help families stay together, almost $7 million to support social workers, and $3 million to support Family Resource Centers. (April 13)
  • California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara ordered all insurance companies to return premiums effective April 13. (April 13)
  • Governor Newsom announced the release of $100 million to support childcare services for essential workers and vulnerable populations. (April 10)
  • California’s Judicial Council issued an emergency order for staying eviction and foreclosure proceedings to protect residents from losing their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 6)
  • Governor Newsom announced the launch of Project Roomkey, making California the first state in the nation to secure FEMA approval to provide safe isolation capacity for tens of thousands of homeless people in the state in order to protect them and others from COVID-19. (April 3)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order expanding consumer protection against price gouging. (April 3)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order restricting water shutoffs to homes and small businesses. (April 2)
  • The deadline to file all state taxes has been postponed to July 15. (March 20)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order suspending any state law requiring redetermination of benefits for “individuals currently eligible for benefits under Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWORKS, the Case Assistance Program for Immigrants, the California Food Assistance Program, or In Home Supportive Services benefits.” (March 17)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Newsom announced the formation of a state Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, co-chaired by Newsom’s chief of staff Ann O’Leary and businessman Tom Steyer, which will work to develop actions both the government and businesses can take to help Californians recover from the COVID-19 induced recession. (April 17)
  • Governor Newsom announced a Western States Pact with Oregon and Washington, which will focus on reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 going forward. (April 13)
  • Governor Newsom announced the state would allocate $50 million to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for loan guarantees to small businesses. (April 2)
  • Governor Newsom announced a one-year sales tax reprieve for small business. (April 2)
  • Governor Newsom announced the Paycheck Protection Program, which will reimburse businesses up to $10 million so long as they commit to paying employees. (April 2)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order providing tax, regulatory and licensing extensions for California businesses. (March 30)
  • The California Infrastructure and Development Bank has announced it will offer Disaster Relief Loan Guarantees, which will provide loan guarantees of up to $1 million for small business borrowers in declared disaster areas. It will also offer Jump Start Loan Guarantees to help low-wealth entrepreneurs in disaster and emergency areas. (March 24)
  • Businesses experiencing a slowdown as a result of COVID-19’s impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program, which “allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs – retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits.” (March 20)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopenings:

  • Governor Newsom announced that the state is shutting down indoor operations of restaurants, zoos, museums, and several other sectors, effective immediately. (July 1)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through September 30. (June 30)
  • Los Angeles County is closing beaches from July 3 to July 6. (June 29)
  • Governor Newsom and the California Department of Public Health issued a new guidance that recommends bars in counties listed on the state’s County Monitoring list for three or more consecutive days close or delay opening. Counties on the list for 14 consecutive days are ordered to close immediately. (June 29)
  • Governor Newsom reportedly said the state could reverse reopening its economy if COVID-19 cases surge. (June 22)
  • Governor Newsom ordered all residents to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings, including when shopping, using public transit, or seeking medical care. (June 18)
  • The majority of California’s counties have been approved to move into Stage 3 of reopening, which includes opening movie theaters, gyms, and bars. (June 12)
  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced it will open all 169 field offices by appointment only beginning June 11. (June 9)
  • Passive recreation activities such as sunbathing will not reportedly be allowed at beaches throughout San Diego County. (June 2)
  • The California Department of Public Health announced that retail stores can reopen for business statewide with special safety measures in place if approved by each county’s respective public health department. (May 26)
  • Hair salons and barbershops are now allowed to reopen in 47 of California’s 58 counties. (May 26)
  • Some California courts have begun reopening as restrictions across the state are being eased, including courts in Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County, and Monterey County. (May 21)
  • The City of Los Angeles will now require residents to wear face masks when going outside for any tasks. (May 14)
  • Governor Newsom announced additional modifications to the statewide shelter-in-place order allowing for the reopening of more industries. Offices that cannot telework and outdoor museums will now be allowed to open. Malls, strip malls, and outlet malls will be permitted to reopen for curbside and outdoor pickup. Restaurants will also be allowed to reopen for dine-in service with certain restrictions. (May 12)
  • Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Los Angeles County will “with all certainty” extend stay-at-home orders through July. (May 12)
  • Newport Beach reportedly reopened its coastline after the state signed off on an active recreation plan for the city’s beaches. Residents may now use the beaches for walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming, surfing, and fishing. (May 6)
  • Governor Newsom unveiled a four-phase plan to reopen the state, including allowing certain “lower risk” businesses to reopen in a matter of “weeks, not months.” (April 28)
  • Governor Newsom signed an executive order directing three upcoming local special elections in the state to be held as all-mail ballot elections, including the June 2nd special municipal election in the City of Commerce and the June 2nd special recall election in El Rancho Unified School District. (April 9)
  • The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health has ordered all individuals to “stay home or at their place of residence” with few exceptions, including “activity needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.” (March 20)
  • The state follows the federal guideline of maintaining a “safe social distance of six feet from people who aren’t part of your household,” and allows outdoor exercise, walks in the park or around neighborhoods, hiking, and dog walking so long as individuals follow social distancing guidelines. (March 20)

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • The California Department of Public Health issued new guidance for schools and childcare facilities as they prepare to reopen. (June 5)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order allowing individuals enrolled in teacher preparation programs during the 2019-2020 school year to obtain their preliminary teaching credential without teaching performance assessment if the individual was unable to complete the requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (May 29)
  • Governor Newsom announced the state may begin the fall school year “as early as late July, early August” due to the cancellation of in-person schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 28)

State Higher Education:

  • A list of California colleges and universities planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • California State University Chancellor Timothy White announced the 23-campus system plans to all but cancel in-person classes in the fall and will transition to primarily online instruction. (May 12) 

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com