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New Restrictions & Employer Obligations

Due to a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates across the state and nation, California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued several orders restricting business operations and personal travel. In addition, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB or Cal/OSHA Standards Board) adopted COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Regulations, which if approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), will create additional obligations and liabilities for all California employers.

Most Counties Limited to Outdoor Tastings

Last Monday, the state rolled back business reopenings, placing 41 counties and 94 percent of the state’s population in the most restrictive (purple) tier. As a result, the vast majority of tasting rooms and restaurants in the state are limited to outdoor operations during this time.

View industry specific COVID-19 guidance and what activities are allowed in each county.

Limited Stay at Home Order

On Thursday, Nov. 19, a limited stay-at-home order was issued requiring that non-essential work, travel and gatherings stop between 10 p.m. and
5 a.m. in counties in the most restrictive (purple) tier. The order takes effect at 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, and remains in effect until 5 a.m. Dec. 21. Work in the food and agriculture sectors, including beverage production, is deemed essential work and may continue under the order. It is advised that employees traveling to and from work during the hours of 10 p.m. and
5 a.m. be issued documentation stating that they are an essential worker. Wine Institute’s Legal Department has drafted a sample essential worker document.

View more information on the limited stay at home order.

Travel Advisory

Last week, the state issued a travel advisory, as did Oregon and Washington, urging people entering the state or returning home from travel outside the state to self-quarantine, and urging against non-essential out-of-state travel.

View more information on the travel advisory.

Enhanced Face Covering Guidance

On Monday, the state also released enhanced face covering guidance, mandating that face coverings be worn statewide at all times when outside of the home, including in most work settings, with limited exceptions. Employers are required to provide face coverings to workers or reimburse workers for the reasonable cost of obtaining them.

View more information on the state’s enhanced face covering guidance.

Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Regulations

On Thursday, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board adopted COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Regulations that go beyond current COVID-19 guidance and create additional obligations and liabilities for California employers. Wine Institute raised several objections to the regulations, joining two coalition letters, one with the California Chamber of Commerce, and the other with a group of agriculture organizations. The emergency regulations now go to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for a 10-day review period, and if approved, will go into effect immediately.

Wine Institute will update members on the progress of these emergency regulations over the next several days and is planning to provide compliance guidance and host a webinar if the regulations are enacted.

View the letter from the CalChamber coalition.
View the letter from the agriculture coalition.
View the emergency regulations.

Wine Institute’s Sacramento Office