California

Total Cases: 9,907 (April 2)
Tests Administered: 90,138 (April 1)
Fatalities: 216 (April 2)
Testing:
  • The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation and California Correctional Health Care Services have released a service that will track cases of COVID-19 in California’s prisons. (March 26)
  • During a press conference, Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg said, “We are gonna have to triage who gets tested” and stated that first responders and healthcare workers should be the first to be tested. (March 23)
  • Los Angeles County has reportedly secured 20,000 new tests with a processing capacity of 5,000 tests per day. (March 21)
  • There are 22 public health labs in California currently testing samples for COVID-19, as well as several private and commercial labs. (March 20)
  • Some drive-thru testing facilities throughout the state have also opened. (March 20)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order suspending certain laws and impediments and expanding the Judicial Branch’s authority to take emergency action in order to conduct business and continue to operate. (March 27)
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles announced it would shut down all of its field offices through the end of March and reopen, virtually, on April 2. (March 26)
  • 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. (March 20)
  • Governor Newsom has deployed the California National Guard to “provide short-term food security to isolated and vulnerable Californians” by assisting at food banks. (March 20)
  • The City of Los Angeles has reportedly declared cannabis dispensaries as “essential businesses.” (March 20)
  • Daycares remain open, but only for children of those working in the defined essential sectors. (March 20)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • The state has closed all non-essential businesses, including dine-in restaurants, bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms and fitness studios, public events and gatherings, convention centers, and hair and nail salons. (March 20)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Individuals who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member, they can file a Paid Family Leave claim. (March 20)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters through May 31. (March 27)
  • Governor Newsom announced a financial relief package that includes a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments, an agreement with financial institutions to not report derogatory tradelines (late payments, etc.) to credit reporting agencies, and a moratorium on initiating foreclosure sales or evictions for at least 60 days. (March 25)
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approvedCalifornia’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver, enabling California to provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, lift prior authorization requirements, allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings, and extend fair hearing and appeals timelines. (March 23)
  • 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)
  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced a 60-day grace period for transactions that have a deadline of March 16 or later and require an office visit. (March 16)
  • The California Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance eliminated cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, “including but not limited to co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance,” as well as “associated hospital, emergency department, urgent care, and provider office visits where the purpose of the visit is to be screened and/or tested for COVID-19.” (March 5)

Business Support & Resources:

  • 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)
  • Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may also request up to a 60-day extension to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. (March 20)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • Newsom said California’s shelter-in-place order should be enforced through public persuasion, not punishment, and launched a new public awareness campaign to encourage people to stay home. (March 31)
  • The San Francisco Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order will reportedly be extended until “at least May 1.” (March 30)
  • 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)

Curfews:

  • No records found as of April 1.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • 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)

Delivery Services:

  • Governor Newsom called for all restaurants to end dine-in services and focus instead on pickup and delivery options. (March 16)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Governor Newsom has said California’s schools will likely remain closed for the rest of the academic year. (March 17)
  • Governor Newsom issued an executive order waiving state academic assessment requirements for the 2019-2020 school year “for all schools in the state for which the United States Department of Education approves […] a federal waiver of requirements to administer those academic assessments.” (March 17)
  • Several Bay Area counties have announced they will extend school closures through May 1, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. (March 25)

State Higher Education:

  • No records were found regarding a statewide order for institutions of higher education as of March 30.
  • Several colleges and universities across the state have sent students home and moved to online classes. (March 19)

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