As California reopens amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, employers should take extra care to ensure that they are following all health and safety protocols, whether they are legally mandated or just recommended by the government. There are various organizations to look to for guidance regarding safe COVID-19 practices, but the number of guidelines out there may be overwhelming. To assist, here is a list of some agencies and guidelines with which you should be familiar, as well as where to find them:
- California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”). The most important thing to know is that, under Cal/OSHA, most employers (even during non-COVID times) must implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (“IIPP”), as set forth in California’s General Industry Safety Orders, section 3203. Cal/OSHA has also set forth Interim General Guidelines on Protecting Workers from COVID-19, which requires employers to determine whether COVID-19 is a hazard in the workplace (which will always be the case for car dealerships and nearly every other business). If COVID-19 is determined to be a hazard (as it should be), employers must update their written IIPP with COVID-19 protocols, which should be shared with employees. Employers should also provide COVID-19 training to their employees, as set forth by Cal/OSHA. Though Cal/OSHA relies heavily on the federal OSHA, it is a good idea to keep an eye on any changes or COVID-19 guidance set forth by federal OSHA as well.
- The Center for Disease Control is also a good source of information regarding safety measures for employers, and is also relied upon by Cal/OSHA, though its guidelines are not specifically tailored to the auto industry.
- California New Car Dealers Association (“CNCDA”) has been doing a great job staying on top of the constantly-changing laws across all major California cities, and it also provides good resources for dealerships on how to institute a safety program. Though CNCDA is not a substitute for speaking with an attorney and should not be construed as legal advice, it has been a good source of information during this uncertain time. The State of California also provides specific safety guidelines tailored to auto dealerships.
- Though the California Department of Public Health provides updates on orders from the State Public Health Safety Officer, it does not appear to provide updates for individual counties and cities of California. If you dig a little, you should be able to find guidelines and legal regulations on reopening car dealerships on your city and/or county’s public health website, such as the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, which provides a Reopening Protocol for Car Dealerships. However, it can be surprisingly challenging to find the most up-to-date orders for some cities and counties. If you need assistance determining what the current regulations are in your city and county, you may want to speak with an attorney.