In Case You Missed It: New State Guidelines For Reopening Dine-In Restaurants, Offices and Malls
In Case You Missed It: New State Guidelines For Reopening Dine-In Restaurants, Offices and Malls

This week Governor Newsom announced new guidelines for the Phase 2 reopening of dine-in restaurants, offices, outdoor museums, shopping centers and malls. The date for reopening of these establishments will be determined by the COVID-19-related circumstances of the county in which the business is located. To reopen dine-in restaurants, offices and malls, a county must receive a variance from the state, through self-certification and state approval. 

Specifically, a California county seeking to start Phase 2 must prove to the state: that it has no new COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents in the past 14 days; that it has no COVID-19 deaths in the past 14 days; that all essential workers have access to personal protective equipment; that a minimum of 1.5 COVID-19 tests per 100,000 residents are being conducted daily; there are at least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents; that the county has the ability to temporarily house 15% of that county's homeless population; hospitals are equipped to handle a new case surge of at least 35%; that all nursing facilities within the county have a two-week supply of PPE; and that the county will establish metrics and continue to monitor in the event of a need to reimplement restrictions and scale back any reopening.

As of May 15, 2020, only 22 of 58 counties have met the Phase 2 reopening criteria.  As would be expected, Los Angeles County is not yet entering full Phase 2 reopening of businesses.  Instead, on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Los Angeles County issued a new order permitting certain retail businesses, other than those in shopping malls and shopping centers, to provide goods and services via curbside, door side, other outdoor pickup, or via delivery. See our recent blog for more details.

Although the majority of California counties have not been certified for reopening for dine-in restaurants, offices, outdoor museums, shopping centers and malls, the state has issued criteria that would apply to these businesses once they are permitted to reopen:

Dine-In Restaurants

Shopping Centers and Malls


Outdoor Museums  

It is suggested that restaurants, offices, outdoor museums, shopping centers and malls located in counties that have not yet met the Phase 2 reopening criteria review the applicable guidance and take immediate steps to prepare to reopen so that these businesses will be ready to do so when their county’s request for Phase 2 permission is approved.

The author would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Joanne Warriner.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again. This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing. No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits). But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you. And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry). Big news: Copyright 2020. All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

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