Moving to a New Reopening

Last week was the first full week under Governor Newsom’s new Blueprint for Economic Recovery four-tiered classification system for COVID-19 restrictions in the state. As of the publication of this article, Los Angeles County remained in Tier 1, the most restrictive tier. However, the County continues to make progress on all COVID-19 recovery metrics, and in turn, has started to lift restrictions on some industries and is moving toward reopening some sectors. For example, on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, Supervisor Hilda Solis announced that hair salons and barbershops in the County would be allowed to resume indoor operations at 25% capacity. In addition, County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis announced additional changes to the County’s Health Officer Order related to education, in line with the state’s new guidance:

Beginning on Monday, September 14, 2020, K-12 schools may provide in-school services for certain students, provided they can fully implement County health protocols. This includes small cohorts of 12 students or fewer within the following categories:

  • Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP)
  • Students requiring instruction for English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Students needing assessments or specialized in-school services

All other current restrictions remain unchanged.

Enforcement – New Worker Protections and Enforcement Mechanisms

On September 1, 2020, the County Board of Supervisors approved a motion from Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl to solicit feedback, prepare an implementation plan, and draft an implementing ordinance (with employee anti-retaliation protections) in connection with the creation of County Public Health Councils. These Councils are intended to provide employees with an avenue for monitoring and reporting employer noncompliance with workplace COVID-19 safety requirements. The report is due to the Board by September 29, 2020.

L.A. City Budget

In the wake of the economic impact of COVID-19, on September 2, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve a declaration of fiscal emergency, which will allow the City to move forward with furloughs of civilian employees. The furloughs, which require one day off every two weeks, are the equivalent of a 10% pay cut. The furloughs do not extend to the LAPD, LAFD, Department of Sanitation and a select number of additional departments. In addition, the City announced an early retirement buyout program and plans to make additional cuts in the current fiscal year budget.