Employment Law Bulletin | March 18, 2020 (COVID-19)

Sonoma County Issues Three Week Shelter In Place Order To Contain COVID-19

On March 17, 2020, Sonoma County issued its own public health order requiring people to shelter at home except for “essential activities” from midnight on March 17, 2020 through April 7, 2020.  You can find the order and answers to frequently asked questions at https://socoemergency.org.

Similar to the recent orders of other Bay Area counties, the Sonoma County order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most “essential activities including those activities:

  • essential to health and safety
  • to obtain necessary services or supplies
  • to engage in outdoor activities (provided social distancing requirements are followed)
  • to perform work providing essential products and services at an “Essential Business”
  • to care for a family member or pet in another household.

Examples of Essential Businesses that will remain open under the current Order include:

  • Hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations, which includes, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. “Healthcare Operations” also includes veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals and licensed cannabis businesses (only for the purpose of providing medical cannabis via curbside pickup or delivery)
  • City/County government services: Police stations, fire stations, jails, courts, garbage/sanitation, public transportation, utilities, and certain city offices
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Agriculture, food, and beverage cultivation, processing, and distribution, including but not limited to, farming, ranching, fishing, dairies, creameries, wineries and breweries in order to preserve inventory and production (not for retail business)
  • Businesses that are necessary to supply agriculture, food, and beverage cultivation, processing, and distribution
  • Hardware stores/plumbers
  • Banks
  • Community benefit organizations on a case-by-case basis
  • Laundromats/laundry services

See the Order for a more complete list.

We understand these are uncertain times and that you may have questions.  SMT employment attorneys are available to help you.  We are currently working remotely, so the best way to reach us is by email.  You may also call our office at (707) 524-1900 and the receptionist will connect us.

Lisa Ann Hilario

No Se Habla Español?

SMT’s employment attorneys can provide your company with employment policies, forms and employee disciplinary documentation in Spanish. Providing such important information to employees in the language they understand is critical to employee performance, providing a welcoming diverse work environment, and protecting your company against employment claims. Contact an SMT attorney today to get started.

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
Employment Law Group

Jan Gabrielson Tansil  | Lisa Ann Hilario | Kari Brown