California Rolls Back Reopening After Recent Spike in COVID-19 Cases

July 14, 2020

In response to the rising number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in California, effective immediately, Governor Gavin Newsom on July 13 ordered all counties in California to close all indoor and outdoor bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs. The order also includes restaurants’ indoor operations, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, bowling alleys, zoos and museums, and cardrooms statewide. The order allows these businesses, except for bars, to operate outdoors if possible.

In addition to the statewide order, in all counties that have been on the state’s monitoring list for three or more consecutive days, which represent more than 80% of California’s population, businesses must close offices for noncritical sectors; fitness centers; places of worship; personal care services, including nail salons, hair salons and barber shops; and indoor malls. This order currently applies to 29 counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, and San Diego. Guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health notes that these closures are in effect until further notice.

These closures affect only nonessential workers in offices in the listed counties. This new order does not impact essential workers in the counties on the state’s monitoring list or nonessential office operations and workers in counties not currently on the state’s monitoring list. Businesses with office operations in counties not currently on the state’s monitoring list should be prepared to return to operating with workers fully working remotely—to the extent not already doing so—except for a skeleton crew of essential/critical workers whose physical appearance is necessary for business operations, such as mail room employees or IT staff, in the event infection rates increase in those counties.


We have developed many customizable resources to support employers’ efforts in safely returning to work. These include tracking of state and local orders on return to work requirements and essential/nonessential work; policy templates and guidelines for key topics such as social distancing procedures, temperature testing, and workplace arrangements for high-risk employees; and webinar training on safety measures for return to work. View the full list of return to work resources and consult our workplace reopening checklist.


For our clients, we have formed a multidisciplinary Coronavirus COVID-19 Task Force to help guide you through the broad scope of legal issues brought on by this public health challenge. Find resources on how to cope with the post-pandemic reality on our NOW. NORMAL. NEXT. page and our COVID-19 page to help keep you on top of developments as they unfold. If you would like to receive a digest of all new updates to the page, please subscribe now to receive our COVID-19 alerts, and download our COVID-19 Legal Issue Compendium.


If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

Los Angeles
Kathryn T. McGuigan

Orange County
Carrie A. Gonell
Daryl S. Landy