The State’s Response to COVID-19 Follows a Local Up Approach

NEW: CGA has partnered with the California Resiliency Alliance in posting additional information on the numerous local emergency orders throughout California. These orders can include mandates about what businesses may be opening, social distancing practices and use of face masks.

Visit our Local Ordinance Database to see all facial covering ordinances in your areas of operation!

November 30, 2020: Bar-Closure Mandates Sweep California

51 out of 58 California counties have slipped into the highest tier of COVID-19 risk level, also known as the Purple Tier.

This means 99% of California’s population is living under the most restrictive coronavirus mandates as outlined in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Counties in the Purple Tier — characterized by widespread transmission of COVID-19 — are subject to state-mandated “Limited Stay at Home” curfews from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Essential employees are still allowed to travel to and from work during these times, but because of these curfews, grocery companies should provide employees with documentation that they are an essential employee.

In addition to these state mandates, several local governments have instituted additional, and more restrictive, COVID-19 mandates impacting individuals and non-essential businesses. 

Local jurisdictions with additional restrictions impacting the grocery industry are listed below. Given the current infection and hospitalization rates, additional local government COVID-19 mandates should be expected with little warning.

The Association will continue to monitor and provide updates. Grocery companies are also encouraged to monitor the counties and cities you operate within as tier status and public health emergency orders can change quickly. Monitoring traditional media, social media and government websites are often the best sources to stay informed of changes.

Santa Clara County – Effective November 30

Capacity Limits for Indoor Facilities Open to the Public

Stores and other facilities open to the public will be limited to 10% capacity indoors. Grocery stores, drug stores, and pharmacies; however, will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity indoors to ensure adequate access to food and medicine. 

Mandatory Directive on Travel

  • All persons traveling into Santa Clara County, whether by air, car, train, or any other means, directly or indirectly from a point of origin greater than 150 miles from the County’s borders must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
  • Exemptions from Mandatory Quarantine. The following persons are exempt:
    • Persons performing an essential governmental function as defined by the governmental entity responsible for that function.
    • Persons solely transiting through Santa Clara County and not staying overnight
    • Persons working at, or obtaining services from, a Healthcare Facility, as defined in the Order.
    • Essential critical infrastructure workers, (which includes grocery workers), as defined by the State Public Health Officer, who are employed in a job that inherently requires travel to locations more than 150 miles from the County’s borders to the extent necessary to carry out their travel- related job duties. When not carrying out their travel-related job duties, essential critical infrastructure workers must quarantine, as defined in this Directive.
Los Angeles County – Effective November 30

Targeted Temporary Safer At Home Health Officer Order

Occupancy limits for permitted activities

  • Permitted activities at facilities that operate outdoors where everyone is masked are at 50% max occupancy
  • Essential Retail (which include grocery) that operates indoors where everyone is masked is at 35% max occupancy
  • Non-essential retail that operates indoors where everyone is masked is at 20% max occupancy 

Protocols for Grocery Stores and Retail Food Markets: Appendix B-1 

Los Angeles County requires grocery stores to comply with and communicate specific protocols for grocery stores. The updated Appendix B-1 document reflecting occupancy limits can be reviewed here.

San Francisco City and County – Effective November 29

Indoor Retail

All retail stores, including shopping centers and essential retail businesses

other than standalone grocery stores, must reduce capacity to 25% (down from 50%).

Standalone grocery stores can operate at 50% capacity, but other essential retail such as pharmacies and hardware stores must decrease to 25% capacity.

November 18, 2020: Los Angeles County Order

Beginning Friday, November 20, Los Angeles County will tighten pandemic restrictions due to a significant rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The new restrictions impact non-essential businesses with a focus on reducing restaurant operations. These restrictions apply to all communities and cities within Los Angeles County.

The new restrictions do not directly impact grocery stores as we are designated as essential businesses. However, with the significant restrictions on restaurants, there is concern it could cause increased buying, especially with food items, at grocery stores. We encourage grocers to remain vigilant while monitoring their supply chain and in-store product amounts.

The restrictions announced also include additional mandates if COVID-19 cases continue to rise. If the stated criteria is met, additional impacts will be imposed on non-essential businesses and will further restrict restaurants. If the most restrictive mandates are implemented, a 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. curfew will be implemented. 

The curfew will not apply to employees of Essential Businesses. We encourage grocers to ensure all employees have identifications essential employees as was necessary earlier in the year.

Los Angeles County New COVID-19 Restrictions

The first measures, effective this Friday, November 20, are:

  • For non-essential businesses permitted to operate indoors—including retail stores, offices, personal care services—occupancy will be limited to 25% maximum capacity.
  • The number of patrons at outdoor restaurants, breweries and wineries will be limited to 50% max outdoor capacity.
  • The number customers at cardrooms, outdoor mini-golf, go-karts and batting cages will be limited to 50% maximum outdoor capacity.
  • Services at personal care establishments may only be provided by appointment to customers wearing face coverings by staff wearing face coverings.
    • Services that require either the customer or the staff to remove their face covering, such as facials and shaves, are not permitted.
    • Food and drinks cannot be served at these establishments to customers.
  • Restaurants, breweries, wineries, bars, and all other non-essential retail establishments must close from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.
  • Outdoor gatherings remain the only gatherings permitted, and they must only include 15 people maximum who are members of no more than 3 households.

If the five-day average of cases in the County becomes 4,000 or more or hospitalizations are more than 1,750 per day, the following restriction will be added:

  • Outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will be prohibited and these businesses will only be able to offer pick-up and delivery. Businesses in this sector are being notified via email by DPH, which will work with them to ensure a smooth transition.

If the five-day average of cases in the County becomes 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, the following restriction will be added:

  • A Safer at Home Order will be instituted for three weeks. The Order would only allow essential workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes.
  • A 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. curfew would be mandated, with essential workers exempt.

June 29, 2020: Bar-Closure Mandates Sweep California

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that all bars must close in seven California counties, including Los Angeles. The state’s Public Health Department also recommended closing bars in eight additional counties.

Today, counties advised to close by the Governor and public health officials, but not mandated to do so, began taking action. Sacramento County will close bars tonight, June 29, and Contra Costa County postponed the reopening of businesses like bars, gyms, and indoor dining, among others. It is likely more counties and cities across California will follow Newsom’s lead on slowing the reopening process.

If your stores utilize on-sale alcohol permits, CGA advises checking with your county or city officials to decide how to best proceed. For questions or concerns, you can also contact Tim James.

What’s perhaps more noticeable about yesterday’s announcement is that it shows elected officials are willing to scuttle their own reopening plans, despite public pressure to return life to some sense of normalcy.

June 23, 2020: Updated Local Orders

The Association continues to work with the California Resiliency Alliance to track the ever-evolving local actions taken to combat the novel coronavirus. An updated list of city and county emergency orders can be found on our website.

June 15, 2020: An Update on Local Stay-at-Home Orders

Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to move the state further into its reopening process. Each phase creates the sense California is returning to business as usual. Despite this sense, local jurisdictions still have the ability to choose stricter standards, and many are maintaining existing stay-at-home orders in at least some form.

CGA has obtained an updated list of local orders. Click here to download these orders in spreadsheet form.

April 29, 2020: Bay Area Counties Formally Extend Stay at Home

As expected, six Bay Area counties have extended their stay at home orders through May 31. The counties include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

The extended order does allow additional opportunities for certain business such as construction and real estate. The only possible impact for grocers is allowing childcare operations for essential employees to be re-open under restricted operations. The language is consistent cross all six counties.

Sacramento County has also extended its order until May 22, with minor adjustments for outdoor activities and food trucks.

CGA believes we will continue to see local jurisdictions extend their stay at home policies with minor adjustments to allow for additional activities.

Monterey County Orders Face Coverings

Monterey County has joined the many other counties that have already required facial coverings. The County’s order applies to all workers and the public.

Under the mandate’s provisions, business owners must take reasonable measures including posting signs to remind patrons about face coverings. Stores are also encouraged not to serve people who are not wearing a facial cover. The order is available here.

April 27, 2020: Tracking New Face Covering Activity

Face covering mandates and guidances continue to remain a dynamic policy arena as cities and counties work to meet the COVID-19 challenge.

As we mentioned in past editions of this newsletter, the field of action for face coverings flows towards small and midsize jurisdictions. For example, this past weekend, Yolo County moved to require face masks be worn when in public.

To help you navigate face covering orders and guidances, we are making daily updates to our Local Ordinance Database. Visit this tool on our website to search for ordinances by location.

April 25, 2020: San Diego County Face Coverings Mandatory for All

San Diego County has amended its emergency order to extend the face-coverings mandate to all residents while in public and within six feet of someone that is not a household member.

The County had already made it mandatory for all essential workers to wear face coverings, and this new requirement goes into effect May 1, 2020.

April 24, 2020: CGA Calls on Cities and Counties to Suspend Bag Ban

With Gov. Gavin Newsom signing an executive order to pause California’s bag ban that did not include grandfathered local actions, the Association sent a letter to local government policymakers requesting they take action to bring their jurisdictions into alignment with new executive order.

CGA also reached out to major media markets with a statement explaining the situation and encouraging counties and cities to follow the Governor’s lead.

April 20, 2020: Alameda County Rounds Out Bay Area Face Covering Expansion

Last week, we updated you on the expanding facial covering mandates coming out of the Bay Area.

Contra Costa, Marin, and San Francisco County moved first and released Emergency Orders requiring the wearing of face coverings for both employees and customers at grocery stores.

These orders were followed by San Mateo County, and a slightly different angle taken by Santa Clara County, which “strongly recommending” use of facial coverings — having decided to not yet mandate through an order.

If you’re operating stores in the Bay Area, you can now add Alameda County to the list of counties requiring face masks of grocery shoppers and employees. The County’s new order can be read here.

April 17, 2020: New Facial Covering Mandates Appear in the Bay Area

This afternoon, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Francisco County released Emergency Orders requiring the wearing of face coverings.

These orders include both employees and customers at grocery stores, with enforcement to begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22. The orders are similar in their language, and other Bay Area localities may join with similar orders — although none have been confirmed.

The new mandates also require essential businesses, such as grocers, to post signage and remind customers of the face-covering requirement.

Businesses must take reasonable steps to prohibit customers from violating the order, as well as prohibit customers without wearing facial coverings from entering, serve them and seek to remove them from premises.

Information for each county has been listed individually below:

April 15, 2020: New Operational and Employee Mandates

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has passed an ordinance requiring several operational and employee mandates. The ordinance goes into effect immediately, Wednesday, April 15.

Several of the motion’s components, which CGA expressed concerns over, were not included in the final ordinance language. Additionally, many of these mandates are already required due to Emergency Orders by the County Health Department, or City of Los Angeles orders.

The full ordinance can be reviewed here while a brief summary of the ordinance language is below:

  • Worker means employee at retail location open to the public or who delivers to the public
  • Employer must provide:
    • Gloves and hand sanitizer, if commercially available
    • Disinfecting products
    • Face Coverings
    • Training on items use
  • Dedicated hand-washing/sanitizing stations for employees
  • Sanitary and stocked restrooms for use by employees
  • Sanitize shopping carts and baskets between each use
  • Shall not unreasonably withhold schedule change requests due to family care or COVID-19 symptoms
  • Permit employees to wash hands every 30 minutes
  • Provide special shopping hours for customers over 60
  • Signage informing customers of social distancing
  • Allow Food Delivery Platform Workers access to bathrooms
  • Mandates in place until Emergency Lifted

April 9, 2020: LA Grocery Worker Protection Ordinance

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has approved the last grocery-related coronavirus ordinance left on his desk, which impacts employee schedule changes and rules around offering hours to existing employees. The ordinance takes effect on Friday, April 10.

Below is a summary of the Grocery Worker Protection Ordinance:

  • An employer must approve a change to a work schedule under specific circumstances:
    • An employee needs to provide daycare for their own child.
    • An employee must take care of an ill immediate family member or member of their household
    • If the employee feels ill, or exhibits signs of COVID-19.
  • Before hiring a new employee or contracting for service, hours must first be offered to existing employees.

The full ordinance can be read here.

April 8, 2020: City of Los Angeles Emergency Order for Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Last night, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an Emergency Order implementing Supplemental Paid Sick Leave while encouraging the Los Angeles City Council to continue to amend its own ordinance.

The order is effective immediately and only applies to the City of Los Angeles.

In summary the Order does the following:

  • Applies to businesses with 500 or more employees in the City, or 2,000 or more employees in the United States.
  • An employee is considered an individual who performs any work in the geographic boundaries.
  • Full-time workers receive 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave.
  • Part-time employees receive an average of two-week period.
  • Supplemental paid sick leave shall be provided for:
    • Health provider recommendation to isolate or self-quarantine
    • Employees who are 65 or older with an existing health condition.
    • Care for a family member who is not sick, but requires isolation or self-quarantine.
    • Employee needs time off to take care of family member or child whose care provider ceases operation.
  • Order expires two weeks after local emergency period
  • Exemption for collective bargaining, if it contains COVID-19 leave provisions.

The full order can be read here.

April 7, 2020: LA Mandates Special Shopping Hours

A City of Los Angeles emergency ordinance that requires grocery stores to dedicate special shopping hours for the elderly, disabled and congregate living homes is now in effect.

For grocery stores larger than 10,000 sq. ft., the first hour the store is open must be limited to these special populations. As an emergency ordinance, it goes into effect immediately. The ordinance can be reviewed here.

April 5, 2020: Riverside County Mandates Facial Coverings for All

On April 4, Riverside County mandated that all individuals leaving their homes must wear face coverings. This means all essential employees, including grocery store employees, must wear facial coverings when at work.

This mandate goes into effect midnight on Sunday, April 5. The order also mandates all essential businesses to follow CDC and CDPH guidelines for social distancing and infection control.

Applying to all cities and unincorporated areas of Riverside County, the County’s definition of face coverings is very broad and includes scarves, masks, bandanas, or any other type of cloth covering. They discourage use of N95 masks and other medical masks.

The Riverside County press release can be read here while the emergency order can be reviewed here.

April 3, 2020: San Diego County Mandates Face Coverings for Grocers

Yesterday, we wrote that we expected to see face covering recommendations expand from a few cities and counties to many throughout the state.

At the time of publishing, San Diego County had yet to join the fray, but was believed to have its own version coming. Released late in the afternoon, the County’s addendum to its existing emergency declaration includes two updates: a “Safety and Sanitation Protocol” and a face-covering mandate for public-facing grocery store employees.

The “Safety and Sanitation Protocol” is a facsimile to what several Bay Area counties have already established, and it requires a worksheet, which must be followed, filled out, and made available to the public for viewing.

Among the protocols is disallowing consumers from bringing reusable items, including carryout bags, to the store. The worksheet must be implemented in all cities and unincorporated portions of San Diego County, completed and posted publicly no later than midnight, April 7.

The addendum’s second component is a mandate that all grocery store employees, who have contact with the public, shall wear a cloth face covering as described in CDPH Face Covering Guidelines.

This mandate is effective Saturday, April 4 at 12 a.m. It does not mandate that face coverings be provided by the employer.

While grocers are committed to the safety of our workers and customers, CGA continues to press San Diego County supervisors for either an implementation delay or resources to comply with the face-covering mandate, due to its very short compliance window.

Please contact Tim James by email or at 916-832-6149 with any questions or for additional information. We also encourage that you forward media inquiries to Dave Heylen.

April 2, 2020: Cloth Face Coverings

This week marks another turning point for the cadence being set by local governments seeking to combat COVID-19.

Last night, April 1, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new recommendation that City of Los Angeles residents use cloth face coverings to enhance physical distancing.

At the county level, Riverside County health officials are recommending its residents use face coverings when leaving the home for essential outings, like visiting a grocery store or pharmacy. Other county announcements are likely to come.

The new recommendations around face coverings appear to be following a quicker cadence than we have seen with other COVID-19 safety measures. CGA advises its members to begin working towards implementation in anticipation that face covering recommendations will be released more widely throughout California.

The California Department of Health Services has released a face coverings guidance that should be reviewed to help inform your company’s implementation strategy. The guidance can be viewed here.

It’s important to note face coverings are not considered medical-grade masks, like N95 respirators, which should be reserved for health professionals.

March 31, 2020 (Evening): Bay Area Social Distancing Mandates

Today, County Health Directors from six San Francisco Bay Area counties have extended their stay-at-home order and added more and stricter social distancing mandates, which impact grocery stores. The counties making this order include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

The new order requires essential businesses, which includes grocery stores, to develop, implement and post a social distancing protocol before April 3. These required protocols include specific measures to protect employee health, prevent crowds, prevent unnecessary contact and to increase sanitization standards. Social Distancing Protocol requirements are linked below.

The stay-at-home order goes into effect at 11:59pm on Tuesday, March 31. The “Social Distancing Protocol” for each essential facility must be posted at the entrance of each facility and visible to the public and employees no later than 11:59pm on April 2, 2020.

It is expected that other Bay Area Counties beyond the initial six will also mirror this order. It could also serve as a template for other counties and cities across California.

Please note the links below are specific to Santa Clara County, but the orders are exactly the same across all six counties.

Santa Clara County Order Language

Social Distancing Protocol Requirements

March 31, 2020 (Evening): Los Angeles County Grocery Ordinances

March 31, 2020 (Morning): City of Los Angeles Grocery Ordinances

CGA will continue to keep you updated on these pending local laws. Contact Tim James for questions or additional information via email or at 916-832-6149.

Supermarkets First Hour of Business

Grocery Worker and Public Health Protection

Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

March 27, 2020: League of Cities Tool

The California League of Cities has created a map for tracking city COVID-19 emergency responses. While CGA is also tracking local government orders, this too from the League is a great additional way to stay up to date on the latest ordinances. Visit their website here.

March 18, 2020: Local Government Orders

Several local governments in California have made orders regarding gatherings, essential services and sheltering in-place. While these orders will impact grocery operations in some manner, every order and mandate to date has recognized that grocery stores are essential services and will remain open. Due to the critical role grocery stores serve in society full closures of stores is not expected.

There have been several significant orders in the City and County of Los Angeles and the counties compromising the San Francisco Bay Area. These orders include restrictions on in-store dining, social distancing within stores and removal of trucking curfews. CGA has posted currently available local orders on its webpage.