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COVID-19 Information: Santa Clara County and Bay Area, California

Trustworthy information about COVID-19

Advice for Workers and Employers

Businesses are no longer required to allow non-essential employees to work from home (although that is still encouraged when it makes business sense to allow it). However, all must follow public health orders from the state and the Santa Clara County Public Health mandatory directives, both for all businesses in general and the industry-specific directives. The links below will help locate which one(s) apply to each place of business.

All businesses are required to report the COVID vaccination status of all personnel - "employees, contractors and subcontractors, independent contractors (including "gig workers"), vendors permitted to sell goods onsite, volunteers, and other individuals who regularly provide services onsite at the request of the business" as of June 1, 2021. Going forwards, employers "must request an updated vaccine status every 14 days from those who are not fully vaccinated or those who have declined to disclose their status" or face a significant fine. People who are unvaccinated, or who decline to state their status, must be masked whenever in the presence of anyone else.

CA requires workers to state their vaccination status if they  are employed in state government, healthcare, and / or in "congregate settings such as jails, homeless shelters and senior living homes". If unvaccinated, they will be required to be tested at lease weekly, and perhaps more than once a week.

All personnel who work in higher-risk settings in Santa Clara County are required by the Department of Public Health to be fully vaccinated (received initial vaccination + all boosters for which they are eligible). See the Updated Order of March 7, 2022 for more details on which businesses apply.

Here's what employers should do if a worker tests positive for COVID-19, according to the Order of July 2, 2020:

"Positive case reporting: All businesses (and governmental entities) are legally required to report to the Public Health Department within 4 hours if they learn that any of their workers are confirmed to be positive for COVID-19. They must also ensure workers alert them if they test positive."

The California Department of Industrial Relations clarifies state regulations around sick leave and employers' responsibilities in this period. (Sick leave also applies to employees who are caring for a family member with COVID-19 during this time). Details are explained in the FAQ document and more information is available on the webpage.

Per this order from the Governor's Office, protections for California's "workers in the food sector, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, and those working in grocery stores and fast food chains, and as delivery drivers" shall include paid sick leave and additional workplace safety measures:

Food business safety: Grocery stores and food pantries have been allowed to stay open since the first shelter-in-place order; restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, and food trucks can all be open as of June 15, 2021.

Advice for Organizations or Care Facilities

Work From Home vs. Returning On-Site

See the box above, Advice for Workers and Employers, for California and local mandates and recommendations. 

Returning to the office: there are many questions as businesses start to bring workers back into their offices, and some guesses but few solid answers yet. 

Returning to work or study at CA colleges and universities: the UC and CSU systems require that employees are fully vaccinated. Private colleges, community colleges, and private universities have individual policies, however;  check the school's website for the latest updates.

Staff in K-12 schools: while most schools have resumed in-person classes, an outbreak or surge may force a shift to online classes or a temporary shutdown. For some, the shift to hybrid teaching is permanent (at least until the pandemic is really over). The CA state Department of Education has created a hub to collect the latest information for staff, administrators, and parents:

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