California Declares End to COVID-19 State of Emergency

Author: David B. Weisenfeld

October 21, 2022

The COVID-19 state of emergency in California will end on February 28, 2023, Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced. The state of emergency enabled the state to enact vaccination mandates, stay-at-home orders and limited pay provisions. So, what will its expiration mean for employers?

Littler employment attorney Nicholas McKinney told XpertHR that several emergency regulations have been adopted over the last two-and-a-half years, in many cases by statute. For instance, California amended its labor code to add supplemental paid sick leave provisions and notification requirements.

"The state of emergency no longer has the impact that it once did," said McKinney. "I don't think there will ultimately be much of an impact on employers with its expiration, as they will still be required to comply with the laws enacted in the past few years."

Nonetheless, there are still employer obligations to monitor. For instance, Cal/OSHA's emergency temporary standard is set to expire at the end of 2022. As a result, McKinney noted, Cal/OSHA is currently drafting a non-emergency standard and is scheduled to meet on December 15, 2022, to vote on adopting the new rules. If adopted, these revised COVID-19 workplace rules could be in place for several years.

The end of California's state of emergency also may have an impact at the county level. A provision of California's Health and Safety Code enabled county health officers to implement restrictions without the approval of elected officials when a state or local emergency declaration is in place. But after the state of emergency ends, that power likely will be lessened.