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Legal Alert

UPDATED: Important Shelter-in-Place Exceptions for Some Construction Activities

UPDATED: Important Shelter-in-Place Exceptions for Some Construction Activities

Many jurisdictions in Northern California and throughout the State have ordered individuals who live in those communities to shelter in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, all businesses except for “Essential Businesses” have been ordered to close. Certain construction activities, however, are exempt from the Shelter-in-Place orders, including housing projects and public works. Businesses that provide these services are Essential Businesses and are “strongly encouraged to remain open.”

Geographic locations

The following areas are currently affected by Shelter-in-Place Orders. New jurisdictions are being added each day so check back for updates.

Bay Area

  1. Alameda and the City of Berkeley
  2. Contra Costa
  3. Marin
  4. Napa
  5. San Francisco
  6. San Mateo
  7. Santa Clara        
  8. Sonoma

Central Coast

  1. Monterey
  2. San Benito
  3. San Luis Obispo
  4. Santa Cruz


  1. Yolo
  2. Palm Springs
  3. Fresno
  4. Tracy


The orders will continue to be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020. However, the Health Officer in each county may change this, so check for updates regularly.

Construction activities exempt from order

Most of the orders provide that work on “Essential Infrastructure” is exempt, which includes work on the construction of housing and public works construction, as well as:

  • water, sewer, gas, and electrical;
  • roads and highways;
  • public transportation;
  • internet and telecommunications systems.

Individuals may leave home to work on these projects.

Ancillary Services 

Most of the orders provide that those “working for or to support Essential Businesses are categorically exempt from this Order.” That means subcontractors, suppliers, and those providing ancillary services may continue working on housing and public works projects.

The Monterey order provides that each governmental entity “shall identify and designate appropriate employees or contractors” to continue providing such services. So businesses there should obtain confirmation before continuing work.

Social distancing measures required

Businesses that continue to operate during this period must implement “Social Distancing Requirements” to the extent possible. These requirements include maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands. Thus, job sites that remain open should install additional handwashing stations and/or hand-sanitizer stations at each project site.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Michelle Akerman
Michelle Akerman
San Francisco, CA
Marc Coats
Marc Coats
San Francisco, CA