As the facts and situation around COVID-19 (coronavirus) continue to evolve, and in step with Gov. Newsom's recent Declaration of a State of Emergency, including the call for all seniors over the age of 65 and residents with chronic conditions to self-isolate at home, the California Optometric Association is requesting the cooperation of all California optometrists and issuing the following guidance: The California Optometric Association strongly recommends that optometrists practicing in California voluntarily suspend nonessential or nonurgent optometry care for the next 14 days. As always, it is expected that optometrists will continue to be available as needed for emergency care and services.

COA does not make this request lightly, and it is being done out of an abundance of caution during this historic public health emergency. As health care professionals, we all have a role to play in "flattening the curve" in order to follow sound, scientific public health advice to help limit infections and slow the spread of the virus.


Jason Tu, OD
Coronavirus Pandemic: Employee Time Off and Pay Options
To assist optometrists in navigating paid time off and other options for their employees, below are Coronavirus-focused employment-related resources gathered by the California Optometric Association (COA) detailing options available.

  • California Programs and Resources: The California Workforce and Development Agency has posted a comprehensive list of programs and resources that may be available to employees impacted by the Coronavirus situation, e.g., paid sick or vacation leave, paid family leave, unemployment or disability insurance, etc. 

In addition, at this writing the U.S. Senate is considering the U.S. House of Representatives-passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act that currently contains these provisions:

  • Guarantees 10 paid sick days (80 hours) to full-time workers, prorated for part-time workers.
  • Temporarily extends the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide paid leave to employees working for a business with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Permits employers to claim a quarterly tax credit against payroll taxes for payments for sick days and family and medical leave up to an amount that does not exceed the business’ total payroll taxes paid in that quarter.

Legal Advice: Members with questions specific to their situation have access to the COA legal resource program that offers free legal advice through the attorneys at Wilke Fleury.

The priority of COA during this uncharted time is the health and safety of California ODs, their families, employees and patients. COA will keep the profession apprised of developments in this rapidly changing environment.