California - COVID-19 Covered

California

Total Cases: 786,696 (September 21)
Fatalities: 15,018 (September 21)
Testing:
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in California can be found here. 
  • Governor Newsom signed an executive order to help the state expand its own laboratory capabilities. The order will expedite efforts by the Department of General Services and the Department of Public Health to establish and operate up to three sites for use as laboratories to increase the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity. (August 28) 
  • Governor Newsom announced that California has signed a contract with a major diagnostics company, which will allow California to process up to an additional 150,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests a day, with a contractual turnaround time of 24-48 hours. (August 26) 

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 signed legislation that immediately extends critical paid sick days protections to California’s workforce. The measure will ensure that every California employee that has been exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19 will have access to paid sick days for the rest of the 2020 calendar year. (September 9) 
  • Governor Newsom released a new set of support initiatives for workers in quarantine and committed to additional support, including paid sick leave. (July 24) 
  • 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 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 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) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • California will relax the burden of proof to receive workers’ compensation benefits for some employees who contract COVID-19 on the job. (September 17) 
  • Governor Newsom signed three bills into law to support small businesses grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and another to jumpstart state construction projects. (September 9) 
  • California is asking the federal government for the new $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit for jobless Californians. (August 20)
  • Housing activists are calling on California to extend its statewide eviction moratorium beyond September 1, after the Judicial Council of California indicated it will likely end the ban on that date. (August 12) 
  • Governor Newsom announced an $81.8 million grant to support isolation and quarantine in communities that have been hit hardest by COVID-19. (August 10) 
  • Governor Newsom announced $600 million in funding for Homekey, a program that empowers jurisdictions to purchase and rehabilitate hotels, motels, and vacant apartment buildings to convert them into permanent housing for individuals experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for COVID-19. (July 16) 
  • 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 California had acquired more than 15,000 hotel rooms to shelter homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 18) 
  • 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 Roomkeymaking 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) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Newsom signed an executive order extending consumer protections against price gouging through March 4, 2021, as California continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. (September 3) 
  • Governor Newsom announced the launch of “California for All Small Business Month, during which the state will partner with companies to highlight small businesses Californians can support during the pandemic. (July 8) 
  • 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 the government and businesses can take to help Californians recover from the COVID-19 induced recession. (April 17) 
  • 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 businesses. (April 2) 
  • 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 signed an executive order to assist election officials as they prepare for the upcoming election amid the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires across the state. The order extends the deadline for county elections officials to count and verify signatures submitted for initiative petitions seeking to qualify for the November 2022 ballot, giving the elections officials needed flexibility to focus on preparations for the General Election this November. (August 26) 
  • Governor Newsom has permitted haircuts and salon services to resume outdoors. (July 20) 
  • Governor Newsom rolled back California’s reopening, announcing that places of worship, hair salons, restaurants, wineries, and other businesses must immediately close their indoor operations. (July 13) 
  • Governor Newsom announced that he will release 8,000 incarcerated individuals in California by the end of August as a result of the pandemic. (July 10) 
  • 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) 
  • Governor Newsom and the California Department of Public Health issued 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) 
  • 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) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • The California Department of Public Health released guidance on youth sports and detailed the process for elementary schools to request a waiver to resume in-person instruction in counties on the state monitoring list. (August 3) 
  • Governor Newsom released his recommendations for schools to reopen this fall, which include basing decisions on in-person schooling on local health data, mask requirements, physical distancing requirements, regular testing and contact tracing, and distance learning. (July 18) 
  • Governor Newsom announced that most public and private school campuses in the state will not reopen for in-person instruction this fall. (July 17) 
  • The California Department of Public Health issued new guidance for schools and childcare facilities as they prepare to reopen. (June 5) 
  • 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. 
  • Governor Newsom is expected to announce reopening guidelines for colleges and universities across California. (August 7) 
  • 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