Lillian Boyd

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday, April 28 for a set of guidelines centered on how businesses should conduct themselves once restrictive orders set by the state and federal government are lifted.

The model, brought to the board by Chairperson Michelle Steel and Supervisor Don Wagner, will serve as guidance for when the county transitions toward “normal state of activity,” according to a press release from Steel’s office.

The action does not, however, reopen businesses, as reported in a Fox 11 Los Angeles online story originally headlined, “The OC Board of Supervisors unanimously votes 5-0 to reopen businesses with safety guidelines.” County officials confirmed this was not the case and the article has since updated its headline to be “The OC Board of Supervisors votes unanimously on safety guidelines required to reopen businesses.”

According to Steel, the guidelines were put together to ensure that all industry representatives, medical professionals and the county’s legal counsel had input in order to best reflect the business needs while adhering to public health recommendations.

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett represents the 5th District on the board, which includes Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.

“Like many of our residents, I too am anxious to open our economy and understand the importance of this next phase in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bartlett said. “It is critical that we get people back to work as quickly as possible.”

However, any plan to reopen will be contingent on the county’s ability to continue to mitigate the spread of the virus, health care capacity, and the overall health and safety of residents, especially those who are most vulnerable, Bartlett said. That includes sufficient testing and tracing capabilities, as well as sufficient PPE and ventilator inventories. At this time, the county is in the process of analyzing available data to determine a timeline to reopen and within the parameters of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s phasing plan.

“These guidelines do not supersede any conflicting or more restrictive orders issued by local governments, the State of California, or the Federal Government,” the guidelines first state. “These guidelines should apply equally to businesses, houses of worship, entertainment and sports venues (including youth sports), and education providers, both public and private, and other organizations.”

Additionally, the board emphasizes that anyone who feels sick, is 65 years of age or older, or suffers from chronic illness, should remain at home.

“Physical distancing of a minimum of six feet should be maintained between customer-facing employees and the general public, and—to the extent practical—between employee work stations. Where six feet of physical distancing between workstations is impractical, face coverings should be worn. Businesses are encouraged to allow telecommuting by employees when practical.”

The guidelines go on to instruct employers to require their customer-facing employees to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer every 30 minutes, or wear disposable gloves.

“All employees, before starting a shift, should have their temperatures taken and not be permitted to work upon a temperature reading above 100.4 degrees,” the guidelines state. “Businesses should significantly increase frequency of sanitizing workstations and equipment that come into contact with the general public.”

Failure of a vendor to adhere to these guidelines may subject them to law enforcement action.

Those accessing county beaches, parks or trails shall follow physical distancing directives set by the state.

To view the entirety of the business guidelines, click here.

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