COVID-19: Updates on State Plans to Reopen

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COVID-19 Resource Hub

States around the country have been under various “stay at home” orders as governors have tried to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic.  Those efforts have taken a significant toll on businesses and their workers.  Now, governors are starting to issue plans to relax their “stay at home” restrictions and to prepare to reopen their states for business once certain public health criteria are met.  Our Labor and Employment experts describe some of those efforts and offer guidance for companies as they prepare to get their businesses running again.


On April 22, Governor Dunleavy announced Health Mandate 016, reflecting Phase 1 of the Governor’s Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.  Phase 1 of the Plan permits limited openings of businesses, including restaurants, retail businesses, personal services businesses, and both public-facing and non-public-facing businesses, as well as limited operations of fishing charters, churches, gyms, remote lodges and camping, childcare, and day camps, effective April 24. Click here to read the full update >>


On April 22, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced California’s first tenuous steps towards reopening. Specifically, and in coordination with the states of Washington and Oregon, California will allow residents to begin scheduling essential surgeries. Governor Newsom, however, refused to specify a precise date as to when California would be broadly reopened, emphasizing that any such decision would be based on the state’s progress on the following six criteria: expanded testing and contract tracing for those who test positive; being able to protect California’s vulnerable populations; ensuring medical facilities are equipped to handle potential surges; working with research hospitals and other research partners in pursing therapies for the virus; making sure business, schools, and other public spaces can continue physical distancing; and being able to return to more strict measures as required.


On April 23, 2020, Idaho’s Governor Little adopted “Guidelines” that constitute a “data-driven approach to opening up Idaho’s economy.” Re-opening is phased using four increments that may begin on May 1, 2020.  This plan, however, is contingent upon review by the Idaho Division of Public Health and the Governor’s Coronavirus Working Group of syndromic, epidemiological and healthcare criteria every two weeks to assess if criteria are met or continue to be met. Click here to read the full update >>


Minnesota is in the process of easing certain stay-at-home restrictions as it attempts to re-open its economy.  In continuation of that process, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-40 on April 23, 2020, allowing certain Non-Critical Sector workers to return to work under the condition that employers create plans for and provide a safe work environment. The Order provides that beginning on April 27, 2020 workers for Non-Critical Exempt Businesses may return to work once their businesses complete specific requirements defined in the Order. Click here to read the full update >>


Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced this week that Oregon is developing a multifaceted, step-by-step plan for reopening businesses and relaxing its “stay at home” measures.  In accordance with federal guidance, Oregon’s plan has three phases, with gating criteria and core preparedness requirements that must be met before moving to the next phase. There are specific requirements for employers to meet in order to reopen. Click here to read the full update >>


On April 17, 2020, Governor Gary Herbert issued his Utah Leads Together Plan, version 2.0, which follows the phasing set out in his original Utah Leads Together Plan, with “Urgent,” “Stabilization” and “Recovery” phases.  Of most interest to Utah employers, the plan identifies data upon which the move from one phase to another will be based, and provides workplace health and safety recommendations for different industries and varying phases of public health risk. Click here to read the full update >>


According to Governor Inslee, the reopening of the State will occur in measured steps, guided by science and dependent on the sustained decrease of the infection rate and increase of testing capacity. Guidance was issued on April 24 for the restart of construction projects if certain COVID-19 safety requirements could be met. Click here to read the full update >>

If you have any questions about any of the issues raised in these updates, contact your Labor & Employment attorney or one of these key contributors.

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