Posts from December 2020.
Southern California Regional Stay at Home Order Extended

On December 29, 2020, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced that the Southern California region would remain under a regional stay-at-home order indefinitely until ICU capacity goes above 15%. ICU capacity is currently at 0% in Southern California.

The Regional Stay Home Order was first announced on December 3, 2020. The order prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and social distancing except for certain limited exceptions. The order sets a ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Sources of Foodborne Illness Report Released

On December 18, 2020, the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) issued its 2018 Annual Report on the Sources of Foodborne Illness. 

The report collects and analyzes foodborne-illness outbreak data for four pathogens - Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter – and specific foods and food categories that are responsible for foodborne illnesses in the United States. The CDC estimates that, together, these four pathogens cause nearly two million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year.

The report found:

    New Lawsuits Challenge State COVID-19 Measures

    A lawsuit has been filed against Cal/OSHA regarding its recently instituted regulations requiring employers to adopt numerous COVID-19 measures. In addition, a separate suit was filed against Governor Newsom for the outdoor dining ban that is part of recent COVID-19-related regional restrictions. 

    Specifically, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) teamed with the National Retail Federation and three NFIB small business owner members to sue the California Division of Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), the California agency that recently instituted extensive ...

    Posted in Legal Bites
    FDA, EPA and USDA Renew Inter-Agency Food Waste Reduction Initiative

    On December 17, 2020, three U.S. agencies: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) announced the renewal of the Formal Agreement Among EPA, FDA and USDA Relative to Cooperation and Coordination on Food Loss and Waste. The renewed agreement has a three-year term.

    The Winning on Reducing Food Waste Federal Interagency Strategy prioritizes action areas to reduce food loss and waste. As related activities and projects are completed through 2020, the EPA, USDA and FDA will ...

    DOL Announces Final Tip Pooling Rule

    On December 22, 2020, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a final rule revising its tipped employee regulations. The final rule is designed to address and incorporate amendments made to section 3(m) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (“CAA”). That amendment prohibits employers from keeping tips received by their employees, regardless of whether the employer takes a tip credit. It also prohibits employers from allowing managers or supervisors to keep any portion of employee’s tips.

    In this final rule, the ...

    Posted in Legal Bites
    What the $900 Billion Stimulus Bill Means for the Food, Beverage and Hospitality Industry

    On December 21, 2020, Congress agreed to a $900 billion stimulus bill, passed as The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“the Act”). The 5,593-page Act includes funds designated for direct relief, additional money for forgivable Paycheck Protection Loans and tax relief measures, but does not include funding specifically for restaurants or hotels.

    • Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans: The Act sets aside $300 billion in additional Paycheck Protection Loans. Of that, $15 billion is earmarked for live entertainment venues and $20 billion is set aside for ...
    DOL Inspector General Report Criticizes Agency’s Tip Rule Process

    On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) released a report finding that the Department of Labor (“DOL”) did not demonstrate that it followed a sound process in promulgating its 2017 tip rule.

    The DOL published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of the 2017 tip rule on December 5, 2017. The 2017 tip rule rescinded portions of the DOL’s 2011 tip regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which were passed by the Obama Administration. In issuing the 2017 tip rule, the DOL stated that the 2011 tip rule incorrectly construed ...

    The Perils of Playing Hard Ball

    A recent case from California, Barickman vs. Mercury Casualty, 2 Cal.App.5th 508 (2016) illustrates the perils that may arise when an insurance company, evidently playing hardball with its insured, refuses to deviate from its “form” releases.

    In Barickman, the Mercury’s insured (McDaniel) injured two individuals (Barickmand and McInteer) in a car accident in which McDaniel was found to have been intoxicated while driving his car. McDaniel was criminally prosecuted and there was the possibility that McDaniel, as part of any sentence in the criminal proceeding, might be ...

    Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Against Los Angeles County Outdoor Dining Ban

    Yesterday Judge James Chalfant issued a preliminary injunction against Los Angeles County’s outdoor dining ban on the basis that the county acted arbitrarily and failed to perform the required risk-benefit analysis. The case was brought by the California Restaurant Association and Mark Geragos to challenge the outdoor dining ban imposed by the November 30th Los Angeles County stay-at-home order.

    The Court held that L.A. County was required to perform a complete risk-benefit analysis before enacting the ban and that it failed to do so. The Court’s ruling noted that the L.A ...

    Posted in Legal Bites
    Cal-OSHA Issues Mandatory Emergency COVID-19 Regulations

    On November 30, 2020, Cal-OSHA’s proposed temporary COVID-19-related emergency regulations became effective. The new regulations, which are found here, will remain in effect until October 2, 2021, unless they are extended.

    The new regulations apply to most California employees, only excluding employees working from home, an employee at a site where the employee does not have contact with others and employees covered by Cal-OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard (applies to certain healthcare facilities and labs).

    Under the new regulations, employers must ...

    California Imposes Regional Stay-at-Home Order

    On December 3, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new regional stay-at-home order.

    Under the order, California is divided into five regions: Northern California, Greater Sacramento, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Regions where the ICU capacity has gone over 85% will be placed into a Stay-at-Home order for a minimum of three weeks. After the three-week period, reopening of closed services will be based on four-week projections of regional ICU capacity.

    Southern California and three other regions are anticipated to reach 85% or more ICU ...

    App Companies Victorious in Prop 22 Fight

    On November 4, 2020, Uber, Lyft and Door Dash secured a victory in their expensive campaign to categorize app-based drivers as independent contractors. 55% of California voters voted in favor of Proposition 22, which means that app-based drivers will be considered independent contractors, and not eligible for employee benefits or protections.  

    The Lead-Up: California’s Independent Contractor Muddle

    For the past few years, California businesses have reeled from a California court decision and new laws, which dramatically limit the use of independent contractors ...

    CDC Announces Alternatives to 14-Day COVID-19 Quarantine

    Today, December 2, 2020, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced alternatives to the 14-day recommended quarantine for those exposed to COVID-19.

    For individuals exposed to COVID-19 who have not experienced symptoms, the CDC advises that quarantine can now end after 10 days if no COVID-19 test is taken, or after 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test.

    However, the CDC advises continued monitoring of symptoms for the full 14 days after exposure to the virus "especially if quarantine is discontinued early."  The CDC also recommends the full 14-day ...

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