March 23, 2020

California Governor Issues Revised List of Essential and Critical Workers

Holland & Knight Alert
Jennifer L. Hernandez | Letitia D. Moore | Paloma Perez-McEvoy | Douglas A. Praw

Highlights

  • In response to COVID-19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation's first statewide shelter-in-place Executive Order on March 19, 2020.
  • Subsequently, the California Public Health Officer issued a list of "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers" to clarify what workers were allowed to continue to report to jobsites outside their homes. The state's Essential Critical Infrastructure List (Sector/Jobs List) includes 13 categories of critical sectors, each with a list of "essential workforce" jobs within each sector.
  • Neither the Executive Order nor the Sector/Jobs List prescribe how more restrictive local shelter-in-place orders are to be interpreted and applied. In the absence of clear preemption of local orders, both the state and local orders apply – which includes more restrictive local orders.

In response to COVID-19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation's first statewide shelter-in-place Executive Order on March 19, 2020, which the state summarized as "everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, keep at least 6 feet of distance." Holland & Knight's West Coast Land Use and Environmental Group and West Coast Real Estate Group will keep clients updated through alerts and blog posts as the Executive Order changes.

Subsequently, the California Public Health Officer issued a list of "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers" to clarify what workers were allowed to continue to report to jobsites outside their homes. The state's Essential Critical Infrastructure List (Sector/Jobs List) includes 13 categories of critical sectors, each with a list of "essential workforce" jobs within each sector.

Sector/Jobs Descriptions

Brief descriptions of each sector, and examples of essential jobs within each sector follows:

  • Healthcare and Public Health, which is very broadly defined, for example, includes workers at medical facilities, personnel providing food and shelter for needy individuals, workers performing mortuary facilities, as well as manufacturers, warehouse operators, and distributors of medical equipment and supplies
  • Emergency Services, which includes both first responders and workers responsible for maintaining critical public infrastructure such as roads and water mains, as well as service providers such as plumbers and electricians who maintain the safety and essential operation of homes
  • Food and Agriculture, which includes retail stores that sell food and restaurants that provide takeout service, food manufacturing and farmworkers, along with associated logistics and transportation workers, and cannabis retailers
  • Energy, which includes essential worker categories for the electricity, petroleum and natural gas industries
  • Water and Wastewater, which includes operational staff for water supply and wastewater treatment systems and facilities
  • Transportation and Logistics, which includes workers in seven subsectors: aviation, highways, maritime, mass transit and passenger rail, pipeline, freight rail and postal/shipping.
  • Communications and Information Technology, which is defined as a "functions-based Sector" that includes both physical equipment and virtual systems, as well as network operations
  • Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions, which includes both agency and private workers engaged in a broad range of functions, including, for example, construction generally and housing construction in particular – as well as childcare
  • Critical Manufacturing, which includes designated jobs in primary metals manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, electric equipment, appliance and component manufacturing, and transportation equipment manufacturing products
  • Hazardous Materials, which includes workers at nuclear facilities, and workers handling medical waste and hazardous materials management, response and cleanup
  • Financial Services, which includes workers in financial systems generally as well as retail banking operations
  • Chemicals, which includes designated jobs in basic chemicals, specialty chemicals, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals and consumer products
  • Defense Industrial Base, which includes public and private sector entities that provide products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy and sustain military operations.

The Sector/Jobs List is intended to "help state, local, tribal, and industry partners as they work to protect communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security." Neither the Executive Order nor the Sector/Jobs List prescribe how more restrictive local shelter-in-place orders are to be interpreted and applied. In the absence of clear preemption of local orders, both the state and local orders apply – which includes more restrictive local orders.

County-by-County Analysis

You can also find on Holland & Knight's website a spreadsheet for California's 58 counties that includes links to all of the shelter-in-place orders for counties and cities that have a separate order. We also have, on a county-by-county basis, provided links to the County Superior Court websites and the status of recordings (whether e-recordings or by mail) in that particular county. Information and links to state environmental and energy regulatory agencies are also included. As with the state order, we will continue to update the spreadsheet in order to bring real time information.

Please do not rely on this Holland & Knight alert to make decisions. This summary may not be comprehensive and COVID-19 developments are rapidly changing. If you have specific questions about how the California Executive Order affects your business, please contact our California COVID-19 Team – which includes Holland & Knight attorneys Jennifer Hernandez, Letitia Moore, Bradley Brownlow, Nicholas Targ, Andrew Starrels and Ryan Leaderman – for legal assistance regarding the California Executive Order and Sector/Jobs List, or on other COVID-19 topics.

Both the Executive Order and the Sector/Jobs list are the subject of ongoing discussions in Sacramento, and significant changes have already been made. Discussions about the status of support administrative support personnel for workers engaged in critical and essential work, for example, are ongoing in both the public and private sector. Within the public sector, discussions about remote work for both non-essential and essential personnel are also ongoing. Please do not hesitate to email or contact our California COVID-19 Team for legal assistance regarding the California Executive Order and Sector/Jobs List, or on other COVID-19 topics.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the situation surrounding COVID-19 is evolving and that the subject matter discussed in these publications may change on a daily basis. Please contact the author or your responsible Holland & Knight lawyer for timely advice.


Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult competent legal counsel.


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