Legal Update

Mar 19, 2020

Six More California Counties And The City Of Fresno Tell Their Residents To Shelter-In-Place In Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic

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Seyfarth Synopsis: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Yolo Counties, along with the City of Fresno, joined ten other California counties to issue shelter-in-place orders. Sutter and Yolo Counties issued a joint stay-at-home directive. Unlike the public health orders from the other counties, the directive does not have any enforcement mechanisms, but it does direct residents to remain at home and non-essential businesses to close. Solano County issued an order limiting all gatherings, including at places of work, if social distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained. Orange County issued an amended order, clarifying that businesses can continue with social distancing.

Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Yolo Counties, and the City of Fresno. The Fresno, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Yolo County orders follow those issued by Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma Counties.

  • For more details on the Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz County orders, click here.
  • For more details on the Monterey, San Benito, and Sonoma County orders, click here.

As previously detailed, these orders require non-essential businesses to cease all activities unless employees can work remotely. Although they vary in what they designate as “essential,” each order makes exceptions for “Essential Businesses.” Employees providing essential products or services to these businesses can continue to travel to work. The orders also allow employees to travel to a workplace to provide “Minimum Basic Operations,” such as providing for payroll and benefits, protecting inventory, and engaging in activities to allow other employees to work from home.

Napa’s order takes effect on March 20, 2020 and runs through April 7, 2020. The Mendocino and Yolo County orders are currently in effect and run through April 7, 2020. Fresno’s order runs through March 31, 2020. Lake County’s order runs until April 10, 2020.

Solano County. Solano County’s order is similar to the one issued by Orange County on March 17, 2020, which Orange County subsequently clarified was not a shelter-in-place order. Solano County prohibits gatherings of any number of people, if social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. Like Orange County’s order, it does not directly order closure of non-essential business. Rather, the order directs that the business must be “essential” to maintain operations if the business that cannot provide for six feet social distancing. According to a Solano County press release, employers must “ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines and should implement teleworking where appropriate and feasible.” The press release goes on to direct that “only employees performing essential duties that are not able to be done remotely should physically come to work.” The order, however, does expressly close bars, theaters, gyms, and spas.

The order remains in effect through April 7, 2020.

Orange County. Orange County issued an amended order, superseding its March 17 order. The order expressly states that it does not prohibit going to work. It issues guidance that all businesses enact social distancing, telecommuting and increased sanitation. Bars and business that only serve alcohol, as well as gyms, movie theatres, and health clubs, must close. Food delivery, including take-out at restaurants and food trucks, can remain open, even though dine-in is prohibited. Though not mandated, employees over 65 and those with serious chronic conditions or a compromised immune system are encouraged to remain at home.

This order remains in effect through March 31, 2020.

Sutter and Yuba Counties. Sutter and Yuba Counties’ joint directive is also substantially similar to the Bay Area orders that took effect yesterday and on March 17, 2020. In a nod to its agricultural businesses, the directive expressly designates as “essential businesses” those that support farming, nurseries, livestock, and other “food cultivation,” as well as food and agricultural processing and distribution facilities. The Counties “direct” residents to remain at home and for non-essential businesses to close. However, absent a public health order, there is no way to enforce the directive.   

Sutter and Yuba Counties’ directives run through at least April 9, 2020.

We will continue to follow shelter-in-place developments, so be on the lookout for updates.