As California continues to navigate the quagmire of reopening the state amidst an unrelenting global pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” (Blueprint) to determine when businesses can and cannot open. The new metric employs a color system, where each county is assigned a color based upon “risk-based criteria.” Under the system, lower risk activities or sectors can open sooner and high-risk activities and sectors cannot open until later phases. The scheme is as follows: Continue Reading California Unveils a New “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” to Manage the Pandemic

On the heels of its May 11, 2020 announcement that it would resume representation case hearings, the National Labor Relations Board announced on Friday that the Division of Judges would resume holding hearings on unfair labor practice complaints effective June 1, 2020. In an announcement posted on the agency’s website, the Board specified that since its earlier suspension of hearings, it has “taken the necessary steps to acquire the licenses and equipment needed to conduct such hearings remotely using online videoconferencing technology.”

According to the announcement:

[E]ffective June 1, the Division of Judges will not sua sponte postpone scheduled hearings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, prehearing requests for postponement will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge in Washington, D.C. and Associate Chief ALJs in New York and San Francisco under Sec. 102.24 of the Board’s Rules, subject to the right of the parties to request special permission from the Board to appeal the ruling under Sec. 102.26. Motions or objections with respect to holding an in-person versus an online videoconference hearing, or taking particular witness testimony by videoconference, will be considered and ruled on by the designated trial judge pursuant to Sec. 102.35(a)(6) and (8) of the Board’s Rules, likewise subject to the parties’ special appeal rights under Sec. 102.26.

Parties might look to the Board’s discussions in Morrison Healthcare, 369 NLRB No. 76 (May 11, 2020), a representation case, for a sense of how the Board might view the issues implicated by the various methods of presenting testimony, should the motion practice referenced above be considered.




On April 29, 2020, seven Bay Area jurisdictions—Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties, as well as the City of Berkeley—issued revised Shelter-in-Place Orders that will take effect May 4, 2020 and remain active through May 31, 2020. The Orders relax some prior restrictions, but unless specifically noted, non-essential businesses must remain closed. The updated Orders allow the following:

  • “Outdoor businesses” (see below) to reopen, provided they have the ability to maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons—note that this expressly excludes restaurants with outdoor seating;
  • Commercial and residential construction projects to resume as essential businesses, provided they are in compliance with specific health protocols—attached as appendices to the Orders;
  • Real estate transactions (including residential moves) to resume, but with continued restrictions on in-person viewings and appointments;
  • Expanded outdoor recreational activities as long as social distancing can be maintained; and
  • The definition of childcare establishments classified as essential businesses has been expanded to include educational recreational programs, such as summer camps, although these programs may not have more than 12 children in one group.

Continue Reading SF Bay Area Issues Updated Shelter-in-Place Orders

On April 16, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order that requires Hiring Entities to provide Food Sector Workers paid sick leave benefits mirroring those required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Executive Order defines “Food Sector Workers” to include workers in the retail food supply chain who perform pick-up, delivery, supply, packaging, retail, or preparation services. Eligible workers thus include grocery workers, restaurant and fast food workers, workers at warehouses where food is stored, and workers who pick up or deliver any food items. Key to this order is the definition of “Hiring Entity”—“any kind of private entity whatsoever… that has 500 employees or more in the United States.” Note that covered individuals need not be employed by the Hiring Entity. The Executive Order requires large entities to offer these benefits to any individual who provides services for or through the business, so “gig” workers who provide deliveries to large restaurant chains (but are employed by small local delivery services) would be entitled to paid leave via the larger restaurant conglomerate.

Continue Reading California Mandates Paid Sick Leave for Food Service and Delivery Workers

In an effort to support healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, Perkins Coie has donated 4,000 N95 respirator masks to hospitals in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. The firm had the masks on hand as part of its firmwide emergency preparedness initiatives, and in particular, following the 2009 H1N1 crisis.

The idea to donate the masks to hospitals in the United States originated with one of the firm’s Chicago-based paralegals. “In a time when each of us feels utterly powerless to help, I knew there was something Perkins Coie could do. In my mind, each one of those masks represents a life that could be saved, or a healthcare provider who can safely save many other lives with proper protection,” said Rachel Leibowitz.

Hospitals receiving the donated masks include UW Medicine in Seattle, the University of Chicago’s Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York.

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial markets have experienced significant volatility. During the course of this volatility, exchanges have halted trading multiple times after declines in trading trigged circuit breakers. In addition, trading floors are transitioning to electronic trading in efforts to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 on physical trading floors. With the recent turmoil, this post provides a high-level summary of the various types of circuit breakers and what can be expected. Continue Reading Understanding Circuit Breakers, Our New Reality, in the Time of COVID-19

On March 16, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic, seven Bay Area counties issued orders requiring residents to shelter in place and mandating closure of many businesses. These shelter-in-place orders exempt activities necessary for the construction of housing, provided social distancing practices are observed.
Services that support housing construction also may be exempt, such as issuance of building and grading permits, housing inspections, utility hook-ups, and the like. This update outlines the key policy provisions and likely interpretations to be applied by local agencies when considering the scope of the exemption. Read More