Newsom Administration Announces Additional Restrictions for Sectors, Schools to Slow Transmission of COVID-19

This week, the Newsom Administration announced additional sector restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state. The actions include:

Expanded Closures of Indoor Operations for Certain Sectors, Counties

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced expanding indoor closures of certain businesses both statewide and in counties that have been on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days. Statewide, businesses such as restaurants, wineries and tasing rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, and museums and cardrooms were ordered closed. These businesses are still able to modify operations to provide services outdoors or by pick-up. Additionally, brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs are ordered to close statewide, both indoors and outdoors, unless these businesses are offering sit-down meals outdoors.

For counties that have been on the monitoring list for three or more consecutive days, additional sectors were ordered to close indoor operations. These include gyms and fitness centers, places of worship, indoor protests, offices for non-critical infrastructure sectors, personal care services (including nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo parlors), hair salons and barbershops, and malls. On Monday when the state announced these measures, 29 counties accounting for 80 percent of the state’s population were on the monitoring list. The actions announced on Monday are in effect until further notice.

The full press announcement from CDPH is available here.

Framework for School Openings and Closures

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a COVID-19 framework for K-12 schools in California, detailing a five-step plan for education delivery amid the ongoing pandemic. The plan addresses the following areas:

  • Safe In-Person School Based on Local Health Data – Updated schools guidance released today specifies the use of existing epidemiological metrics to determine whether school districts can begin the 2020-21 school year in-person or virtually. Schools located in counties that are on the state’s monitoring list must not physically open for in-person instruction until their county has been off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Schools in counties that have not been on the monitoring list for the prior 14 days may begin with in-person instruction while following public health guidelines. Local health officers may grant a waiver to allow elementary schools to reopen in-person instruction if the waiver is requested by the district superintendent, in consultation with labor, parents, and community-based organizations. Local health officers must consider local data and consult with CDPH in considering the waiver request. CDPH also issued updated guidance for when schools must physically close and revert to distance learning due to COVID-19 infections. Through tiered thresholds, CDPH guidance provides a framework for when a classroom cohort, school, and school district should close.
  • Mask Requirements – All staff and students in third grade and above will be required to wear a mask or face covering. Students in second grade and below are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering. Students should be provided a face covering if they do not have one. The state has delivered over 18 million face coverings to schools to support reopening and student learning.
  • Physical Distancing Requirements – CDPH requires that all adults stay at least six feet from one another and six feet away from children. Students should maintain six feet of distance from one another as practicable. Any individual entering the school must complete a health screening, and any student or staff exhibiting a fever or other symptoms will be immediately sent home.
  • Testing and Contact Tracing – CDPH’s guidance further recommends staff in every California school be tested for COVID-19 periodically based on disease trends and as testing capacity allows. During today’s press conference, Governor Newsom additionally announced the state will provide resources and technical assistance for COVID-19 infection investigations in school settings.
  • Rigorous Distance Learning – For schools that are unable to hold in-person instruction, the Newsom Administration highlighted recent requirements set forth by the state’s FY 2020-21 state budget, including school district-provided devices and connectivity so that every child can participate in distance learning, daily live interaction for every child with teachers and other students, class assignments that are challenging and equivalent to in-person instruction, and targeted supports and interventions for English learners and special education students.

The full CDPH schools guidance framework is available here. The full announcement from the Governor’s Office is available here.