In the five weeks since we first reported of local jurisdictions requiring employers to screen employees for symptoms of COVID-19, such policies have expanded rapidly. The following is a list of jurisdictions within California that have mandated that employers screen most or all employees working onsite or interacting with the public. Note that this list does not include jurisdictions that have recommended screening, only those that have mandated it. In addition, we have excluded screening requirements that may only apply to a small segment of the workforce.
As always, given the rapid developments in this area, it is possible that the list will be missing a jurisdiction or two. If you learn of developments that you don’t see here, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bay Area Jurisdictions
Seven jurisdictions in California’s Bay Area have undertaken many COVID-19 response measures together, and that holds true for employee screening.
These jurisdictions have adopted Orders requiring businesses that remain open to implement a “Social Distancing Protocol” at each facility in operation. The orders require employers to implement a Protocol that is substantially the same as the Social Distancing Protocol attached to the order as an Appendix. Among other things, the Protocol states “Symptom checks are being conducted before employees may enter the work space.” On April 29, 2020, these jurisdictions updated their Orders and their Social Distancing Protocol effective May 4. Please note that the new Orders require that employers update their Social Distancing Protocols to address revised requirements.
Alameda County (March 31 Order) (April 29 update)
City of Berkeley (March 31 Order ) (April 29 update)
Contra Costa County (March 31 Order) (April 29 update)
Marin County (March 31 Order) (April 29 update)
San Mateo County (March 31 Order) (April 29 update)
City and County of San Francisco (March 31 Order) (April 29 update)
Santa Clara County (March 31 Order) (April 29 update)
On March 27, 2020, Fresno County became one of the first jurisdictions in the country to mandate that employers perform health screenings for employees reporting to work. Specifically, the county’s Department of Public Health has mandated that employers screen for signs of "febrile respiratory illness," which is defined as "a new or worsening episode of either cough or shortness of breath, presenting with fever ... or chills in the previous 24 hours."
In addition, the Order requires employers to exclude from work all employees who have had febrile respiratory illness symptoms for seven days from the day that they are identified as having symptoms.
The Order also details when employees who have had symptoms may return to work.
Los Angeles County
The county of Los Angeles has adopted the same requirements as the Bay Area jurisdictions described above, requiring employers to adopt a social distancing protocol that requires symptom checks of employees before they enter the workplace.
On March 25, 2020, Mariposa County’s Health Office signed an Order requiring employers to conduct daily screenings of employees for febrile respiratory illness and exclude all employees who have symptoms from work for seven days after the onset of symptoms.
On April 7, 2020, Merced County’s Health Office issued an Order requiring employers to conduct daily screenings of employees for febrile respiratory illness and to exclude all employees who have symptoms from work for seven days from the onset of symptoms. On April 24, the Health Officer further revised the order to impose additional restrictions. However, on April 30, the Health Officer suspended that portion of the order requiring employers to develop a Social Distancing and Safety Plan in response to stakeholder concern.
On May 1, 2020, Sacramento County’s Health Officer has issued an Order similar to that initially enacted by the Bay Area jurisdictions summarized above. It requires employers to adopt a Social Distancing Protocol that includes screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the work space.
Santa Cruz County
Sana Cruz County’s Health Officer has also issued an Order requiring employers to adopt a Social Distancing Protocol that includes performing symptom checks before employees enter the work space.