Due to the veritable explosion in the number of L.A. County residents testing positive for COVID-19 in the past 6 weeks, the L.A. County Health Officer has issued a Travel Restriction Order for all persons leaving and entering Los Angeles County.
According to the text of the Order, there is currently a testing positivity rate in L.A. County of nearly 19%, whereas it was under 4% in early November. The average daily deaths have increased by 600% during this same period from 12 average deaths per day in early November to 84 average deaths per day in mid-December.
The key provisions of the Order state:
- For those who traveled outside of L.A. County and recently returned, you may have had an exposure to COVID-19. The virus can take up to 14 days to incubate, and for many people the virus causes no illness or symptoms. If you go back to work, go shopping or go to any gatherings at any point over the next 10 days, you could easily pass on the virus to others. All it takes is one unfortunate encounter with an individual with COVID-19 for you to become infected, and sadly, for you to go on and infect others.
Because of the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 while traveling outside of Los Angeles County, for everyone that traveled or are planning to travel back into L.A. County, you must quarantine for 10 days. If you start to experience any symptoms or have a positive test, isolate for 10 days and until you are fever-free for 24 hours. The best way to safely quarantine is to not leave your home or allow any visitors to your home, and to find others who can help you buy groceries and other essential necessities. If you need help during your self-quarantine, such as finding assistance to help get groceries, there are resources available by calling 211 or visiting the Public Health website.
Notably, certain larger employers (500+ employees) may be required to pay employees who are excluded from work and quarantining under this Order. Earlier this year, the City of Los Angeles passed its own COVID-19 sick pay ordinance for larger employers who were not covered by the federal COVID sick pay law (the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act). Whereas the City law applied to larger employers with more than 500 employees working in the City of Los Angeles (or who employed a total of 200o employees nationwide), the federal law applied only to employers with fewer than 500 employees. In the new COVID relief bill which the President signed over the weekend, the federal law (applicable to smaller employers) was not extended and will expire on December 31st. However, the City’s law for larger employers does not expire. Therefore, employees who are quarantining under the County’s new Travel Order who work for larger employers covered by the City’s ordinance are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave while quarantining.
Also, the existing Targeted Stay at Home Orders issued by the State and adopted by the L.A. County Health Officer have been extended and remain in effect as long as hospital ICU capacity remains below the 15% threshold established by the State. As a reminder, these Orders:
- Prohibit gathering with non-household members;
- Require everyone to stay at home as much as possible;
- Reduce occupancy limits at businesses;
- Require masking and distancing whenever around others;
- Outdoor exercise is encouraged as long as you remain distanced and wear a face covering when around others; and
- All non-essential business and activities must cease between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
We will continue to monitor major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at www.brgslaw.com.
Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles H.W. Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP