All of California now in shelter-in-place mode

But critical infrastructure sectors can continue to operate.

Two days after the Bay Area instituted a shelter-in-place order for residents across six Bay Area counties, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered the rest of California to follow suit.

On March 19, Gov. Newsom signed Executive Order N-33-20, ordering all California residents to stay at home or in their places of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors. These include the following:


Commercial Facilities


Critical Manufacturing


Defense Industrial Base

Emergency Services


Financial Services

Food and Agriculture

Government Facilities

Healthcare and Public Health

Information Technology

Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste

Transportation Systems

Water and Wastewater Systems

Californians working in these sectors are permitted to continue working. The Governor reserved the right to add sectors to protect the health, safety and well-being of California’s residents.

The Order also recognizes that people must leave their homes for various reasons, including to buy food and prescription medications, and to seek health care treatment. Essential services, including gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants (for take-out and delivery only), banks, and laundromats will remain open. People are urged to practice social distancing when leaving their homes for these authorized activities.

Finally, Governor Newsom ordered the health care industry to prioritize serving those who are most sick and to prioritize resources, including personal protective equipment, for those healthcare workers providing direct services to the sickest patients.

The goal of this Order is to implement a consistent response across California to disrupt the spread of COVID-19. It went into effect immediately and will stay in effect until further notice.

Employers should seek counsel as to how critical sectors are defined in the state and local orders and whether they apply to particular businesses.

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