Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

May 14, 2020

Resources available to track phased opening of states

COVID-19Safety and Health 

States are implementing reopening plans in the wake of COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions, some more quickly than others. Many are reopening in phases, but several states are allowing counties to apply for accelerated reopening, making it challenging for businesses to know what phase and/or guidelines apply. Below is a list of state resources to use in determining what phase your state is in (if any) and whether your county has been approved for a different phase.

  • California: The state is in early Stage 2, although Governor Newsom is allowing counties to file an attestation with the Department of Health for an expanded Stage 2 (which adds destination retail, dine-in restaurants, and limited schools) once guidance is posted for each sector. Numerous counties have filed county-specific plans on the Local Variance Attestation page.
  • Idaho: Governor Little announced on May 14, 2020, that the state is entering Stage 2 on May 16. Currently there are no opportunities for county variances.
  • Montana: The state is in Phase I, in which the Stay at Home order has been lifted and most businesses can operate subject to physical distancing guidelines. Counties may impose stricter standards than the state, but cannot be less restrictive. See Governor Bullock’s main COVID-19 page for additional updates.
  • Oregon: The Stay at Home order remains in effect, but Governor Brown announced that counties will be eligible to enter Phase 1 (limited reopening of additional business sectors) on May 15 if they meet a list of prerequisites for reopening. All 33 counties outside the Portland metro area have submitted applications to enter Phase 1 according to the COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians page. The list of approved counties can be found here. Starting May 15, new statewide “baseline” guidelines take effect for counties that aren’t approved to enter Phase 1.
  • Washington: The state is currently in Phase 1 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan, but small counties with fewer than 75,000 people may apply to move more quickly into the next phase if certain criteria are met. Currently eight counties have been cleared to enter Phase 2, as shown on the Current Safe Start status map.

Tips For Employers: If you’re unsure which rules apply to your business, first consult the resources above to determine the current phase (or stage) for your state. Next, if your state allows for county variances, check to see if your county has applied or been accepted for a different phase. Once you determine your phase, download the most recent reopening and distancing guidance provided for your business sector based on that phase. The pages showing county variance applications have been changing daily. As with all things coronavirus, it’s best to routinely check your local, state, and federal coronavirus resources because all are subject to change and frequently updated. If you have any questions, contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.