On December 3, 2020 in order to slow the unprecedented rise in the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new Regional Stay Home Order. The Order took effect on December 5, 2020 in any region of the state, as designated by the California Department of Public Health, where intensive care unit bed capacity is less than 15%. Should a region’s ICU’s bed capacity drop below that threshold, the Order would become operative, prohibiting non-essential activities by individuals and requiring that most businesses either close entirely or modify their operations to remain open. While the Order will have a profound effect on the individuals and businesses in the regions where the Order becomes operative, the Order expressly exempts critical infrastructure sectors, which includes government operations. As a result, the Order should not affect public employers that are performing essential government operations. Public employers should continue to ensure that worksites and facilities are healthy and safe workplaces and that employees who are able to telework are permitted to do so. Those employees who are unable to telework shall observe all applicable health and safety protocols, including, but not limited to, observing face covering requirements, proper social distancing, and hand hygiene protocol.
On December 29, 2020, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced that both the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions will remain under the state's stay-at-home order.