COVID-19 Employment Law News

San Diego County Issues New Requirements for Face Masks and Protocols for Open Businesses

By Thomas E. Daugherty

On April 2, 2020, the County of San Diego issued an addendum to the existing Health Officer Order regarding the COVID-19 crisis, that requires that masks be worn by all employees who may have contact with the public in any grocery store, pharmacy/drug store, convenience store, gas station, restaurant and other business establishments that serves food.  The order takes effect 12:00 a.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020.  Paragraph Q of the Addendum provides:

Effective 12:00a.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020, all employees who may have contact with the public in any grocery store, pharmacy/drug store, convenience store, gas station, restaurant and other business establishment that serves food shall wear a cloth face covering as described in the California Department of Public Health Face Covering Guidance referenced in section 10, above.

Not all essential businesses are required to have their employees wear masks under this Addendum.  The trend may go that way, but right now it is limited to the categories listed in the Addendum for San Diego County.  It would be a reasonable and permissible step to take, to require all employees that interact with the public to wear masks, given the guidance from the State of California Health and Human Services Agency, dated April 1, under which all California residents are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks when out in public. 

Also, under the Addendum, all businesses that remain open to the public must prepare and post the Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol, as provided by the County.  The Addendum provides in relevant part as follows: 

  • All businesses that remain in operation in accordance with the Order and that allow members of the public to enter a facility must prepare and post by no later than 12:00 a.m. on April 7, 2020 a “Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol” on the form attached to this Order as for each of their facilities open to the public in the county.
  • The Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol must be posted at or near the entrance of the relevant facility, and shall be easily viewable by the public and employees.
  • A copy of the Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol must also be provided to each employee performing work at the facility.
  • All businesses shall implement the Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol and provide evidence of its implementation to any authority enforcing this Order upon demand.
  • The Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol must ensure all required measures are implemented and must identify and require measures necessary to implement social distancing are implemented at each facility that will ensure social distancing and sanitation at that particular facility.
  • If the measures identified and implemented are not effective in maintaining proper social distancing and sanitation, additional measures shall be identified and implemented or the facility shall be closed.

The Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol form is available on the San Diego County website. You can also access Stay at Home documents released by the County of San Diego by clicking here.

While these restrictions are unique to San Diego County, employers in all California counties should continue to monitor changes in the law and consult with legal counsel regarding updates to employer’s obligations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please contact Thomas E. Daugherty or Klinedinst’s employment team if you have any questions.

About the Author

Thomas E. Daugherty

Thomas E. Daugherty litigates and counsels clients in employment law, professional liability, and commercial litigation. He brings integrity, vigorous advocacy, and a tenacious work ethic to provide unique solutions to each and every client. His demeanor and approachability keep clients coming back for more, when legal needs arise. To contact Mr. Daugherty, please reach him via email or call (619) 239-8131.

Please Note

This article is intended to be for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute legal advice. The law is constantly changing and the information may not be complete or correct depending on the date of the article and your particular legal problem. The use of information from this article does not create any type of attorney-client relationship.

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