California - COVID-19 Covered


Total Cases: 12,129,699 (March 10)
Fatalities: 101,159 (March 10)
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in California can be found here. 
  • Governor Newsom announced the opening of a new $25 million-dollar laboratory in Valencia that will allow the state to process an additional 150,000 tests per day. (October 30) 
  • Governor Newsom signed an executive order to help the state expand its own laboratory capabilities. The order will expedite efforts by the Departments of General Services and 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) 


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:

  • California’s workplace regulators have withdrawn a controversial pending mask regulation while they consider a rule that more closely aligns with Governor Newsom’s promise that the state would fully reopen on June 15. (June 11) 
  • California workplace regulators approved new rules allowing workers to go without face masks if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (June 4) 
  • California workforce regulators will aim for a mid-June easing of workplace mask and social distancing requirements to conform with a broader state order, postponing a vote on whether to revise COVID-19 safety rules for employees. (May 21) 
  • Governor Newsom signed legislation that extended critical paid sick days protections to California’s workforce. The measure would ensure every California employee that had been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19 would 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) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Newsom announced the state would give away the country’s largest pot of vaccine prize money — $116.5 million — in an attempt to get millions more inoculated before the state fully reopens in June. (May 28) 
  • Governor Newsom signed legislation to create a statewide policy for the rehiring of workers laid-off because of the pandemic. (April 20) 
  • Governor Newsom signed SB 95, a bill that would ensure access to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for eligible employees. (March 19) 
  • Governor Newsom, Senate President Pro Tempore Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon announced that they reached an agreement on a package of COVID-19 relief actions that included direct financial aid to some Californians. (February 17) 
  • Governor Newsom signed legislation to extend the state’s eviction moratorium through June 30. (January 29 
  • Governor Newsom announced plans to create a $600 stimulus program to low-income Californians. (January 6) 
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order addressing a variety of issues related to the pandemic, including extending the availability of housing for migrant agricultural workers. (December 15) 
  • Governor Newsom issued the state’s first-ever Social Innovation Impact Report highlighting innovative public-private-partnerships that have contributed $3.9 billion toward the state’s housing efforts, COVID-19 response and more. As part of the state’s leading-edge social innovation work, California engaged 196 corporate and philanthropic partners and 748 community-based organizations, benefitting each of the state’s 58 counties. (November 24) 
  • California relaxed 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) 
  • 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) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Newsom unveiled another component of his $100 billion California Comeback Plan: making historic investments in small business relief. The plan would expand the state’s COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant program to a total of $4 billion, representing the largest such program in the entire country. (May 14) 
  • Governor Newsom announced that legislation providing COVID-19 business relief would be temporarily delayed while the state sought guidance on the American Rescue Plan. (March 15) 
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order extending the validity of otherwise expired medical cannabis cards. (January 21) 
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order addressing a variety of issues related to the pandemic, including providing a 90-day extension on tax returns and tax payments for small businesses, and updating Cal/OSHA requirements related to quarantine guidelines. (December 15) 
  • Governor Newsom announced the opening of the California Rebuilding Fund to help impacted small businesses rebuild from the economic crisis. (November 20) 
  • Governor Newsom announced he would pull the emergency brake and implement the states most restrictive safety measures across most counties ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. (November 16) 
  • Governor Newsom extended the commercial eviction moratorium through March 2021. (September 25) 
  • Governor Newsom signed an executive order extending consumer protections against price gouging through March 4, 2021. (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 a one-year sales tax reprieve for small business. (April 2) 



  • Governor Newsom announced the state’s COVID-19 emergency order would remain in place beyond June 15, despite plans to fully reopen the state’s economy on that date. (June 7) 
  • Governor Newsom announced the capacity restrictions on businesses and the state’s mask mandate would be lifted on June 15. (May 12) 
  • California amusement parks were permitted to reopened at 25 percent capacity with limits on out-of-state visitors. (April 30) 
  • Los Angeles County and San Francisco have reached a threshold to enter California’s most lenient yellow COVID-19 tier as soon as the week of May 3, if trends hold steady. (April 28) 
  • Fresno, Santa Barbara, Kings, Calaveras, and Mono counties have moved into the Orange Tier of the state’s COVID-19 reopening system — continuing a sustained and sweeping unlocking of the economy as case rates remain low and vaccinations ramp up. (April 22) 
  • Governor Newsom announced the state would “fully reopen” its economy on June 15, lifting nearly all of the restrictions that had been imposed since the outbreak of the pandemic. (April 7) 
  • Los Angeles and Orange County businesses and organizations were cleared to further reopenHouses of worship, museums, zoos, and aquariums were permitted to raise indoor capacity to 50 percent. Restaurants and movie theaters were permitted to raise indoor capacity to 50 percent or 200 people (whichever is fewer). Indoor gyms and yoga studios were permitted to increase capacity to 25 percent. (March 30) 
  • Starting April 1, Californians aged 50 and older will be eligible to make an appointment, and individuals 16 and older will be eligible to make an appointment to be vaccinated starting on April 15. (March 25) 
  • Governor Newsom’s office issued revised guidelines for indoor church services, allowing 25 percent capacity. (February 7) 
  • Governor Newsom and the Biden-Harris administration announced a pilot project to establish community vaccination sites in Oakland and Los Angeles. (February 3) 
  • Governor Newsom signed an executive order to bolster the state’s efforts to vaccinate as many Californians as possible as quickly as possible. (January 27 
  • In an effort to ramp a slower-than-expected vaccine rollout, California will allow everyone 65 and older to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (January 13) 
  • The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed its review of the federal process and concluded that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is safe and efficacious for use in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. (December 20) 
  • Governor Newsom will go into quarantine again for 10 days after being exposed to a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. (December 20) 
  • Governor Newsom launched “Vaccinate All 58,” California’s campaign for a safe, fair, and equitable vaccine for all 58 counties in the state. (December 14) 
  • Governor Newsom issued a regional stay at home order to take effect on December 5 for regions with less than 15 percent ICU availability. (December 3) 
  • Governor Newsom and the California Department of Public Health announced a limited StayatHome Order requiring non-essential work, movement, and gatherings to stop between 10:00PM and 5:00AM in counties in the purple tier. (November 19) 
  • Governor Newsom and the governors of Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories today urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. (November 13) 
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order addressing a variety of issues in response to the pandemic, including a process that would allow businesses located along state highways to expand their outdoor dining options onto sidewalks and parking areas, drivers’ license renewal by mail, and the extension of provisions related to deadlines for the payment of real estate license applications. (October 28) 
  • The California Department of Health announced that outdoor private gatherings are permitted as long as attendees originate from three or fewer households. (October 10) 
  • Governor Newsom signed an executive order to assist officials as they prepare for the upcoming election amid the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires across the state. (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 signed a $6.6 billion package to accelerate the safe return to in-person instruction in schools across the state. (March 5) 
  • Governor Newsom announced that the Biden administration approved the state’s request to utilize Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) funding to provide voluntary COVID-19 testing for low-income students covered by the program. (March 3) 
  • Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today highlighted an agreement on a $6.6 billion budget package to accelerate the safe return to in-person instruction across California and empower schools to immediately expand academic, mental health and social-emotional supports, including over the summer. (March 1) 
  • Governor Newsom announced the launch of the Safe Schools for All Plan’s interactive Safe Schools Reopening Map, an online tool that provides a statewide snapshot of the status of school reopenings across California. (February 12) 
  • Governor Newsom outlined a framework to continue and expand safe in-person instruction, including a $2 billion early action proposal to support school safety measures. (December 30) 
  • Football, volleyball and other popular high school sports will remain on hold until at least Jan. 25 as cases of the coronavirus continue to surge in the state, according to new guidance released by the California Department of Public Health. (December 14) 
  • 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) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of California colleges and universities that planned to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • Californias two public university systems announced they will require nearly 800,000 students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as this fall. (April 23) 
  • California released guidance for schools and colleges to hold graduation ceremonies safely, including instructions to limit the number of attendees, hold ceremonies outside of two hours from each other, and enforce social distancing. (March 27) 

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at [email protected]