Following COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders by nearly a dozen different California counties, Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday evening issued a statewide order directing all individuals in the state to stay home “except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”

The web page providing more information on the order directs residents to stay at home “except for essential needs.”  As under county shelter-in-place orders, it advises that essential services will remain open such as:

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/laundry services

The following are closed statewide:

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nighclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Convention centers

Governor Newsom’s order expressly orders that Californian’s working in 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors may continue their work “because of the importance of these sectors to Californians’ health and well-being.”  Of particular relevance to retailers, one of the sectors listed is “Food and Agriculture.”

In order to help determine what businesses and workers qualify under this and other sectors, the federal government has provided a “Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce”  Under food and agriculture, the Guidance lists, among others:

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products
  • Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations – Carry-out and delivery food employees
  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees …
  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution

Another sector listed is Critical Manufacturing.  The Guidance identifies as critical workers in the manufacturing of food and agriculture as well as health and medical supplies.

Also, on Friday, the California Retailers Association received clarification from Governor Newsom’s office that “[d]istribution centers are part of critical infrastructure for many industries.”

Retailers should continue to have all open stores and distribution centers follow the latest guidance from the CDC and other federal and state agencies on health and sanitation precautions to reduce the threat of spreading COVID-19.

For more information, contact the authors or visit our COVID-19 Thought Leadership web page.  You can also seek assistance from  our COVID-19 Client Task Force.