By Jill Ripke and Matt Goldberg

On December 14, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order N-84-20 addressing the COVID-19 pandemic including, but not limited, to updating the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) emergency regulations, which went into effect November 30, 2020. The Executive Order modified the emergency regulations so that they incorporate the new California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance, specifically stating that the exclusion periods in Sections 3205(c)(10) and (11) are suspended to the extent that they exceed the longer of the applicable quarantine or isolation period recommended by CDPH.

Under the new CDPH Guidance, “[a]ll asymptomatic close contacts (within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) may discontinue quarantine after Day 10 from the date of last exposure with or without testing.” Thus, the CDPH Guidance will modify the quarantine period for the return-to-work criteria set forth in Cal/OSHA’s emergency regulations for asymptomatic individuals.

In addition, the CDPH Guidance addresses quarantine periods during critical staffing shortages when there is not enough staff to provide safe patient care. Essential critical infrastructure workers who are either (i) exposed asymptomatic health care workers or (ii) exposed asymptomatic emergency response and social service workers who work face-to-face with clients in the child welfare system or in assisted living facilities are not prohibited from returning after Day 7 from the date of last exposure if they have received a negative PCR test result from a specimen collected after Day 5.

Companies with questions about the applicability of the Cal/OSHA regulations, the Executive Order, or the new California COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance should contact experienced counsel.