Pandemic Update for San Diego County Businesses
The entire BMBR team hopes this message finds you, your families and your staff safe and healthy in these continually trying times.
Last Week, Dr. Wooten, San Diego County’s Public Health Officer, amended the Health Order with new specific provisions pertaining to all San Diego County businesses. Effective July 30, 2020, all businesses (regardless of size) must take the following actions with respect to COVID-19 in the workplace:
1. If the employer becomes aware that an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 (regardless of the source of infection), the employer must promptly notify the County Department of Public Health with the employee’s name, date of birth and contact information.
2. If the employer becomes aware that an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 (regardless of the source of infection), the employer must cooperate with the County Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 response team to identify and provide contact information for any persons potentially exposed by the employee at the workplace.
3. Where 3 or more cases are identified in the workplace (regardless of source of infection) within a span of 14 days, the employer must provide notice of the exposure to any employee, customers or other persons who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at that workplace.
4. Although not required, the County strongly recommends that employers provide the notice set forth in #3 when at least 1 employee is diagnosed with COVID-19.
One recent change that is actually helpful to employers is that the Governor allowed his May 2020 executive order expire in early July pertaining to COVID-19 and workers compensation cases. Under that executive order, if an employee (who does not work from home) was diagnosed with COVID-19, it was presumed that the employee was infected at work and could file a workers comp claim for their illness.
That executive order has expired. The presumption against employers no longer exists. Although employees who work outside of the home could still try to file a workers comp claim for their illness, the burden is on the employee to prove that they were infected in the workplace (and not elsewhere).
There are, of course, many industry specific rules on the state and county level, not address in this communication.
The laws are constantly changing as we continue to move through this pandemic. If you have any questions on a case-specific issue, please contact our office.