COVID Update: Los Angeles and Orange Counties Now in Orange Tier

We are happy to share more good news on the COVID front.  As of today (March 31), Los Angeles and Orange Counties have both shifted to the State’s “Orange Tier,” as the daily rate of new infections has decreased substantially from last month.  The relaxed COVID restrictions are now in effect in Orange County.  In LA County, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced that LA County is waiting until April 5 to allow the relaxed restrictions to take effect, and will soon issue a health order with some modifications from what the State is allowing.

This newsletter summarizes what this means to your communities in Orange County currently, and what is generally expected for LA County (beginning April 5, with modifications).   For a summary of current Red Tier restrictions still applicable in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, please see our prior newsletter available here

Gyms:  Under the Orange Tier, indoor gyms and fitness facilities may open, but must operate at a limited 25% capacity (an improvement from the 10% capacity under the Red Tier).  To adhere to the capacity limit, communities with gyms should consider implementing a reservation system (recommended, but not required).  Additionally, all workers and patrons must wear face masks (except while swimming).  In addition, you must follow the State’s “COVID 19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Fitness Facilities,” complete a “COVID-19 General Checklist for Fitness Facilities,” and meet any local guidelines.

LA County has some additional protocols on fitness facilities available here, but we expect that this will be updated soon.

Pools: Outdoor swimming pools may operate in accordance with the guidelines contained in the State’s “COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Fitness Facilities” which includes specific “additional considerations” for operating “communal restrooms, shower facilities, swimming pools and aquatic venues.”

If your community in Orange County has an indoor pool, it may now open as long as physical distancing is maintained, and as long as it meets the State’s Guidance.

LA County has some additional protocols on swimming pools available here.

Hot Tubs and Saunas:  Outdoor hot tubs may continue to operate as long as they are used only by a single household group at a time, or where six feet of social distancing can be maintained.  Be sure to follow the Industry Guidance for pools, referenced above.

Any indoor hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas must remain closed (except at private residences).

Playgrounds: Outdoor playgrounds can open with modifications. Be sure to follow the State’s guidance on “Outdoor Playgrounds and other Outdoor Recreational Facilities.”

LA County also has some additional protocols on outdoor playgrounds available here.

Clubhouses, Restaurants and Bars: Under the Orange Tier, restaurants may continue to operate indoors, with capacity limited to 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer.  This is an improvement from the Red Tier, where capacity was limited to 25% or 100 people.  In addition, you must follow the State’s “COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Restaurants”.

Wineries may now operate indoors, with capacity limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer and must adhere to the State’s “COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Wineries and Tasting Rooms” along with all local guidelines.  Bars (serving no food) are finally allowed to open, but may operate outdoors only and in accordance with the Guidance available here

If your community offers take-out dining, they must also comply with the State’s “COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Restaurants.”

Onsite Management: As we all know, association managers are essential and offices have been allowed to remain open, and may continue to do so. Comply with the State’s “COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Office Workspaces” and make all required postings.  Board meetings should continue to be held electronically via video conference.  Meanwhile, the State loosened its restrictions on non-essential office workspaces which may now operate indoors, but is still encouraging remote work.

Other News.  In other news, the Orange Tier also means that grocery stores and most retail stores will no longer have capacity limits.  Houses of worship, theatres and museums may operate indoors at 50% capacity, and bowling alleys may operate indoors at 25% capacity.  Outdoor live entertainment venues may also operate with capacity limits.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Community Legal Advisors Inc.

Michael J. Alti, Esq.