Businesses and Workplaces

Last content update:  11/15/22

Note:

    Guidance for Safe Operation

    Businesses in Santa Clara County are responsible for taking steps to protect the health of their workers and customers. All businesses and workplaces in Santa Clara County are subject to the requirements for California Assembly Bill 685 and Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). Some workplaces must also follow regulations in the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard, and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.

    by minimizing close contact between people and maintaining a clean and sanitary work environment. Most businesses are no longer required by law to report individual cases of COVID-19. However, they are required to report all outbreaks (3 or more cases within a 14-day period as defined by CDPH) within 48 hours through the Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT).

    For more information on business requirements for reporting cases of COVID-19, please see CDPH Employees and Workplaces Guidance and All Guidance Documents by Topic.

      Step 1: Encourage Employees to Stay Home if they Feel Sick

      Encourage workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home if they are sick, or go home and get tested right away if they develop COVID-19 symptoms while at the worksite.

      If, upon arrival at the worksite or at any time during the workday, a worker appears to have any COVID-19 symptoms, the worker should be encouraged to go home immediately and stay home until 24 hours after resolution of fever (without fever-reducing medication) and improvement in other symptoms AND until testing is negative or determination that testing is not needed.

       

      Step 2: Recommend the worker to get tested for COVID-19

      Recommend the worker to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Testing resources can be found at www.sccfreetest.org. See the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) section titled "Testing" for employer requirements related to COVID-19 testing.

      • If the worker tests negative for COVID-19, the worker should remain at home until at least 24 hours after resolution of fever (if any) without use of fever-reducing medication and improvement in other symptoms. Consider continuing isolation and retesting in 1-2 days if you test negative with an antigen test, especially if your first test was during the first 1-2 days after symptoms began. If new symptoms develop, isolate and get tested again.
      • If the worker tests positive for COVID-19, the worker should notify their supervisor immediately and continue to follow isolation guidance.

       

      For more information, please see:

      In the event a worker tests positive for COVID-19, employers must follow the requirements outlined in the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and California Assembly Bill 685.

      Note: In the event of an outbreak (3 or more cases at the worksite as defined by CDPH), the employer is ALSO required to complete all steps in What to Do if There is a COVID-19 Outbreak at the Worksite

       

      Step 1: Provide instructions to the COVID-19-positive worker and any close contacts

      Work Exclusion & Isolation Period

      Non-high-risk, non-congregate settings: The COVID-19 positive worker must be sent home immediately and instructed to isolate. Advise all positive, symptomatic, or exposed workers who had close contact with the COVID-19 positive worker to follow COVID-19 Guidelines for the General Public

      The County of Santa Clara discourages employers from requiring a medical note to return to work as long as the criteria detailed in the Return to Work Letter below are met.

      Updated 5/25/22 Return to Work Letter (PDF): | English | Chinese | Spanish | Vietnamese | Tagalog |

      High-risk, congregate settings (healthcare settings or congregate living settings, such as jails or shelters)Healthcare workers in acute care hospitals or skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) should follow the isolation, testing, and work restriction guidance in AFL 21-08. Staff and residents in other high-risk settings* should follow the COVID-19 Guidelines for Staff and Residents in High-Risk Settings.

      *Other high-risk settings include all healthcare settings not covered by AFL 21-08 and congregate settings such as shelters, correctional facilities, long-term care settings, and adult and senior care facilities. See CDPH for more information and refer to CDPH guidance for your facility type. All shelters should refer to CDPH Guidance for Clients in Congregate Shelters.

      Note: In the workplace, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) or in some workplaces the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard (PDF), and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements, including requirements related to testing and masking in the workplace

      For an overview of requirements for employees who test positive or are exposed to COVID-19, refer to the Cal/OSHA What Employers and Workers Need to Know about Isolation and Quarantine fact sheet. 

      General Advisory & Symptom Monitoring for All Other Employees

      All others present at the workplace, but NOT identified as close contacts, should be advised to self-monitor for symptoms and wear a mask for 10 days after the last day that the person diagnosed with COVID-19 was at work.

       

      Step 2: Report Outbreaks to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department

      Most businesses are no longer required by law to report individual cases of COVID-19. However, they are required to report all outbreaks (3 or more cases as defined by CDPH) within 48 hours through the Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT). The information provided will remain confidential and does not affect immigration status.  You may update the information you provide if you discover additional information after your initial report. The Public Health Department may ask for further information to be reported if a worksite outbreak is identified. 

       

      Step 3: Report Any Hospitalizations or Deaths to the Local Cal/OSHA District Office

      Any serious injury, illness, or death occurring in any place of employment or in connection with any employment must be reported by the employer to the local Cal/OSHA district office immediately. For COVID-19, this includes hospitalizations and deaths among employees, even if work-relatedness is uncertain.

       

      Step 4: Disinfection After a Confirmed COVID-19 Case at the Workplace

      According to Cal/OSHA ETS, 8 CCR section 3205(c)(7)(B) - Employers shall implement cleaning and disinfecting procedures, which require:

      Cleaning of areas, material, and equipment used by a COVID-19 case during the high-risk exposure period, and disinfection if the area, material, or equipment is indoors and will be used by another employee within 24 hours of the COVID-19 case.

       

      Step 5: Preventing Workplace COVID-19 Transmission

      Employers must follow all Cal/OSHA ETS requirements for preventing workplace COVID-19 transmission.

      Face coverings must be worn at certain times and in certain settings as required by the State's Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings, a County Health Order Requiring Use of Face Coverings in Higher-Risk Settings, and Cal/OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).

      Businesses are also recommended to encourage COVID-19 vaccination. The most important thing a workplace can do to decrease risk of COVID-19 in the workplace is to facilitate vaccination where feasible. All individuals ages 6 months and up are eligible for vaccination. More information about available vaccines and how to access them can be found at www.sccfreevax.org

        A worksite outbreak is defined by CDPH as 3 or more cases at a worksite within a 14-day period. See Cal/OSHA and Assembly Bill 685 requirements on responding to outbreaks.

         

        Response Testing:

        If a COVID-19 outbreak has been identified or suspected, it is important to identify and test all potentially exposed individuals regardless of their vaccination status. Regular testing of all potentially exposed individuals may help identify additional cases that should be excluded from work. Contact tracing alone is unlikely to identify all cases and contacts early in an outbreak. By the time an outbreak has been detected, there may be additional cases coming to work who have not yet been identified as positive.

        Refer to Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for more on testing obligations for employers.

        For more information on COVID-19 testing, visit sccfreetest.org.

         

        Additional Modifications to Prevent Transmission During Outbreaks:

        During an outbreak, additional layers of protection may be needed to halt transmission. It is important to review internal COVID-19 response plans, identify ongoing COVID-19 hazards at the workplace, and determine what additional mitigation steps may be needed.

        See related Guidance for Ventilation and Air Filtration Systems in the Guidance for Businesses tab.

        Note: If your business is experiencing an outbreak and you need support in understanding the above guidance or would like additional technical assistance from Public Health, please contact [email protected].

        Use this protocol if 3 or more cases are reported in a workplace within a 14-day period, defined by CDPH as a worksite outbreak. 

         

        Step 1: Report Outbreaks to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department

        Refer to Cal/OSHA and Assembly Bill 685 requirements for reporting COVID-19 cases.

        Businesses are required to report case information for all outbreaks (3 or more cases as defined by CDPH) to the Public Health Department within 48 hours through the Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT). The information provided will remain confidential and does not affect immigration status.  You may update the information you provide if you discover additional information after your initial report. 

        While submission of close contact information via SPOT is optional, employers may gather information for all people who have been identified as close contacts, including any vendors/suppliers, visitors, or others who had close contact with the employee at the worksite.

        Submitting COVID-19 Case Information to SPOT

        • If you do NOT have an existing SPOT account linked to the location you are reporting for, submit a SPOT Intake Form to report case information. You will not be registered as a new SPOT user at this time. Submit another Intake Form to report additional cases if reporting for the same outbreak.
        • If you have an existing SPOT account linked to the location you are reporting for, you may report case information by logging in to SPOT and reporting cases directly to the Location Account.

        For more information, see SPOT Reporting Overview and SPOT Help and Training Material.

        For technical assistance with SPOT (e.g., login or password assistance), please contact the SPOT Help Desk at [email protected] or call (916) 520-1619.

        Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT)

         

        Step 2: Receive Confirmation that Case Information was Received

        Following submission of information on all COVID-19 cases associated with an outbreak to SPOT, the requirement for reporting COVID-19 outbreaks to the County is met.

        If a SPOT Intake Form was submitted, the submitter will receive a confirmation email from the Public Health Department that the form(s) were received. If cases were reported directly to a Location Account in SPOT, case records will be visible.

        The Public Health Department may contact the employer and may ask for further information to be reported.

        Note: An Exposure Event ID will no longer be routinely created after a SPOT Intake Form is submitted by the worksite liaison. For this reason, worksite liaisons need to ensure they add all exposure and case information necessary on the SPOT Intake Form.

         

        Step 3: Report Any Additional Cases to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department

        If you do NOT have an existing SPOT account linked to the location you are reporting for, submit a SPOT Intake Form to report additional case information.

        If you have an existing SPOT account linked to the location you are reporting for, report additional case information by logging in to SPOT and reporting cases directly to the Location Account.

        For more information, see SPOT Reporting Overview and SPOT Help and Training Material.

          ​The following government agencies have developed guidance to help with planning efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.​
           

          California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

          California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)

          Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

          Assistance and resources for funding and support for business that are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.​

           

            • The Labor & Workforce Development Agency provides information on paid sick leave, disability and unemployment insurance, workplace health and safety guidance, and employer assistance.
            • The California Labor Commissioner’s Office (en español) lists answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding employee leave options, compensation, and salary.
            • The Employment Development Department (EDD) (en español​) provides resources for employers who anticipate a reduction of work hours, or potential closure or layoffs as a result of COVID-19.
            • The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has compiled information regarding workplace safety and health requirements that California employers must take to protect workers from COVID-19 at the workplace.
            • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided guidance regarding ADA compliance, medical exams, confidential medical information, anti-discrimination laws, and other employment matters related to COVID-19.  Businesses should work with legal counsel to address employment law questions as the County cannot provide legal advice regarding employment matters related to COVID-19 in the workplace. 
            • The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has also provided COVID-19 guidance and resources for employers and housing providers.
            • The Employment Development Department (en español) provides a variety of support services to individuals affected by COVID-19in California:
            • Sick or Quarantined: If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19, you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have full or partial loss of wages due to non-work-related illnesses.
            • Caregiving: If you’re unable to work because you are caring for ill or quarantined family members with COVID-19, you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to eight weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member.
            • Reduced Work Hours: If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own.
            • OnwardCA is a private initiative of companies and foundations that serves California workers displaced by COVID-19. OnwardCA provides essential life services (such as money, groceries, or childcare), job training, and job matching.
            • Multiple fact sheets relating to COVID-19 in the workplace are available on Legal Aid at Work’s website.

              Visit the County's COVID-19 Resource Directory webpage.

              ©2022 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.