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New Industry Guidance for Restaurants and Shopping Centers to Re-Open

Tue May. 12th, 2020 PTWWW Legal Alert

On May 12, 2020, Governor Newsom announced that new guidance would be released for restaurants and retail centers to re-open. Legal issues to take note of within the guidance are highlighted below. However, as of today’s date, California is still only in “early Stage 2” of its re-opening plan. Thus, dine-in restaurants and retail may re-open only if counties have received state approval.

Guidance for restaurants is available here.

Guidance for shopping centers is available here.

In anticipation of re-opening, businesses should be developing COVID-19 prevention plans for employees and guests. Employees must be trained on these plans once they return.  Please contact us for assistance in developing your plan.

Although the guidance recommends establishing guidelines for employees to self-screen for symptoms, to stay home when experiencing symptoms, and to report a positive diagnosis to the business, all medical information must be kept private by the employer to the extent possible.

If requiring employees to wear face coverings, the employer should provide such coverings. The guidance states that dishwashers in particular must be provided with impermeable aprons and recommends that dishwashers use certain protective equipment due to the risk of transmission from “splashing”. The employer should provide this equipment.

If requiring employees to undergo temperature screening upon arriving at work, employees must be paid for this time. The guidance recommends frequent hand washing, which should be worked into the employee’s shift time as part of the employee’s paid duties. The guidance also recommends frequent cleaning of surfaces, such as credit card machines and ordering systems, which should also be worked into the employee’s shift time as part of the employee’s paid duties.

The guidance recommends staggering meal breaks and rest breaks. However, regardless of the staggering of such breaks, employers must still ensure that employees are receiving and taking the proper number of breaks within the required time periods under California law.

Employers should ensure that they properly receive and provide requests for either emergency paid sick leave or emergency FMLA leave as required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Employers should ensure that their businesses have properly posted the notice required under this Act. Employers should also ensure that there are no additional sick leave requirements that apply to them under local ordinances.

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