Businesses and Workplaces

Last content update:  1/14/2021

NOTE: As of January 3, 2022, the County of Santa Clara has aligned its isolation and quarantine guidance with California Department of Public Health’s guidelines. See CDPH guidelines for more information or visit

Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT)

UPDATE December 28, 2021: The County of Santa Clara Health Officer issued a health order requiring up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination for workers in certain higher-risk settings in light of the rapid surge in cases due to the Omicron variant. The new order builds on recent changes in the State Health Officer’s vaccination requirements by mandating up-to-date vaccination by workers in certain healthcare and long-term care settings.  Under the new local health order, by January 24, 2022, workers must be up-to-date on their vaccination (i.e., both fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 if eligible for a booster) in these higher-risk settings:

  • skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, adult day care facilities, and memory care facilities;
  • healthcare delivery facilities (such as hospitals, clinics, medical offices, dialysis centers) where patient care is provided, as well as medical first responders;
  • jails and other correctional facilities; and
  • congregate shelters.

    The August 2, 2021 Health Order requiring universal indoor masking remains in effect throughout Santa Clara County.

The following documents can be reviewed for further information and updates.


Guidance for Safe Operation

Businesses in Santa Clara County are responsible for taking steps to protect the health of their workers and customers 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 as defined by CDPH) within 48 hours through the  Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking. For more information on business requirements for reporting cases of COVID-19, please see  the following guidance from CDPH Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace for Employers and Employees and Workplaces Guidance. For more information on reporting outbreaks and/or cases through SPOT please see the process overview here


Employee breakroom guidance (updated May 20, 2021)

The Health Officer recommends that use of indoor breakrooms by unvaccinated staff be minimized as much as possible. Unvaccinated employees should preferably eat outside, alone in their vehicles or alone at their own desk/workspaces. Employers are strongly encouraged to take steps to encourage these safety measures (for example, by staggering break times and/or setting up outdoor areas where employees can eat and stay at least six feet apart from one another). If unvaccinated employees want to eat with coworkers, they should do so outdoors and distanced more than six feet apart from each other.

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Recommendations if There is a Suspected COVID-19 Case at the Worksite

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 if they develop COVID-19 symptoms while at the worksite. The guidance below also applies to workers who have been vaccinated but are showing COVID-19 symptoms.

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 antipyretics) and improvement in other symptoms AND until testing is negative or determination that testing is not needed.

It is recommended an employee who is working remotely report experiencing any of these symptoms to his or her supervisor immediately if the worker has been at the worksite within 48 hours of first experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

You may assess and discuss with the worker whether remote work is appropriate while he or she is at home. 


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 The Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards require employers to make COVID-19 testing available at no cost to employees with COVID-19 symptoms who are not fully vaccinated, during employees' paid time. The worker should follow isolation guidance as appropriate.

  • 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) and improvement in other symptoms. 
  • If the worker tests positive for COVID-19, the worker should notify his or her supervisor immediately and continue to follow isolation guidance.


For more information, please see:

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What to Do When Someone at the Workplace Tests Positive for COVID-19

In the event a worker tests positive for COVID-19, employers can follow this step-by-step protocol which provides guidance to employers and employees, as well as volunteers, contractors, or other people who work at the facility. Employers must comply with all applicable state and federal laws and any collective bargaining obligations.

Employees who test positive can be directed to Home Isolation Steps: What should I do if I become positive or am told to isolate?

When to Use this Protocol

Use this protocol if the person diagnosed with COVID-19 was at the workplace during their “high-risk exposure period.”

If the person diagnosed with COVID-19 ever had symptoms, their “high-risk exposure period” runs from the 48 hours prior to their developing symptoms until at least 5 days after they developed symptoms and until at least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine) and the improvement of other symptoms. See CDPH’s isolation guidance for more information.

If the person diagnosed with COVID-19 never had symptoms, their “high-risk exposure period” runs from the 48 hours prior to their testing positive until 5 days after they tested positive. See CDPH’s isolation guidance for more information.

Note: This protocol should be triggered as soon as you learn that a person at your workplace has received a positive test result on a COVID-19 diagnostic test and was at the workplace during their “high-risk exposure period.”  You may not avoid the requirement to implement this protocol by re-testing the person, even if the results of one or more re-tests are negative.  The County Health Officer does not recommend repeated testing to confirm a positive test result due to the low likelihood of a false positive on the initial test.

Step 1: Provide instructions to the COVID-19-positive worker

Work Exclusion & Isolation Period

Non-high-risk, non-congregate settings: The COVID-19 positive worker must be sent home immediately and instructed to isolate. These instructions apply to all those who test positive, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. 

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.

Return to Work Letter (PDF): | English

High-risk, congregate settings: For isolation guidance for healthcare providers or staff in congregate settings, consult AFL-21-08.

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.

Step 2: Identify all close contacts to the COVID-19-positive worker

If an employer learns that an employee has tested positive, the employer must try to determine which, if any, employees had “close contact” with the positive employee.  A close contact is defined as someone within six feet of a COVID-19 case for a total of 15 minutes or greater in any 24-hour period when the confirmed COVID-19 case was in their “high-risk exposure period” as defined above.

Maintain Confidentiality

Employers should keep employees’ medical information confidential in accordance with federal and state laws.  Limit disclosure of the identity of the COVID-19 positive worker in your effort to identify close contacts. Please consult with your attorney if you have any questions about applicable employment or privacy laws. 

Identify Close Contacts During the Exposure Period

The employer must investigate and document the employee’s schedule and work location to determine: 1) the day their symptoms began (if applicable); 2) the date of their first positive test; and 3) the last day that the person diagnosed with COVID-19 was present at the workplace.

This information must then be used by the employer to identify all individuals who may have had close contact with the confirmed-positive employee during the high-risk exposure period

Complete the SPOT Intake Form for Outbreaks and submit case and contact information

Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT)

In the event of an outbreak (3 or more cases as defined by CDPH), the employer must gather the following information for all people who have been identified as close contacts (to be provided to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department), including any vendors/suppliers, visitors, or others who had close contact with the employee at the worksite:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Language spoken (if not fluent in English)

Employers may choose to report individual cases not constituting an outbreak in order to assist in the identification of an outbreak and/or seek assistance from the Public Health Department with outbreak prevention. Additionally, certain employers (e.g., K-12 schools, supervised youth programs) must also report individual cases to the County. Employers may consider instituting a policy informing employees that if they are confirmed to have COVID-19, they will be requested to provide a list of other employees with whom they had close contact during the exposure period. The Public Health Department may ask for further information to be reported if a worksite outbreak is identified.

Step 3: Communicate with All Employees

Work Exclusion, Quarantine & Testing for Close Contacts

Non-high-risk, non-congregate settings: For work exclusion, quarantine and testing for close contacts, please see Home Quarantine Steps.

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.

Return to Work Letter (PDF): | English

High-risk, congregate settings: For work exclusion, quarantine and testing guidance for close contacts who are healthcare providers or staff in congregate settings, consult AFL-21-08.

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.

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 for 10 days after the last day that the person diagnosed with COVID-19 was at work. This includes individuals who have been vaccinated. They may continue to work, but if they develop symptoms, they are strongly recommended to stay home (or if at work, must be sent home immediately) until 24 hours after resolution of fever (without antipyretics) and improvement in other symptoms AND until testing is negative or determination that testing is not needed.  Further, all other health and safety codes applicable to certain sectors (i.e., food handlers, daycares etc.) must still be enforced to prevent spread of other types of acute communicable diseases. Everyone at the worksite must follow the business’s Social Distancing Protocol. 

If the workplace is a “High-Risk Setting,” one where workers are at a high risk for exposure to COVID-19 due to frequent face-to-face interaction with members of the public and inability to maintain physical distancing at work, workers should get tested at least every 30 days. These “High-Risk Setting” workers include, but are not limited to, first responders, pharmacy employees, food service workers, delivery workers, public transportation operators, and grocery store clerks. 

Step 4: 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 . 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: Preventing Workplace COVID-19 Transmission

Businesses are required to:

  1. Complete at least two rounds of ascertainment of employees’ vaccination status (See the  County’s “Ascertainment of Vaccination Status” FAQs for more information about requirements for businesses to ascertain their employees’ vaccination status.)
  2. Ensure that unvaccinated employees working indoors onsite wear masks
  3. Ensure that unvaccinated employees and symptomatic fully-vaccinated employees quarantine if they are identified as a close contact to a case
  4. Provide vaccination information to all unvaccinated employees

Businesses are recommended to:

  1. Limit or reduce work-related travel for unvaccinated employees when disease transmission is moderate or substantial

Encourage 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 5 and up are eligible for vaccination. More information about available vaccines and how to access them can be found at 

Enforce Face Covering Use When Necessary

Face coverings must be worn at certain times as required by the State’s Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings and Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards (“Cal/OSHA ETS”). In addition, businesses are urged to adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers. 

Consider Restructuring the Workplace to Better Support Social Distancing

Outside of a major outbreak, there is no longer a uniform physical distancing requirement under Cal/OSHA’s ETS.  However, employers must still assess workplace hazards and implement controls to prevent disease, which in some cases may include physical distancing.  In addition, nothing in the ETS prevents employers from implementing additional protective measures, such as physical distancing and barriers.  The County of Santa Clara recommends that, in addition to complying with the ETS, employers consider whether additional physical distancing measures are feasible and would enhance safety (e.g., spacing desks or workstations, encouraging workers who are not yet fully vaccinated to eat outdoors, etc.). 

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Guidance for Ventilation and Air Filtration Systems (COVID-19) (PDF)

Why is it Important to Ventilate Indoor Spaces?

Shared indoor spaces significantly increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  Current scientific evidence shows that COVID-19 most often spreads by breathing in air while close to an infected person. Air containing virus particles which can linger in indoor spaces for long periods of time, particularly if the spaces are enclosed and poorly ventilated.  The risk of spreading COVID-19 increases greatly when people remove their face coverings (including when eating or drinking). Risk also increases with every additional person from a different household who enters a shared space and breathes the same indoor air.

It is always safest to avoid gathering with individuals outside one’s household.  And locating activities outdoors—where wind and sunlight can disperse particles and inactivate the virus—is safer than indoors, particularly if the activity requires the removal of face coverings.

If activities must take place in shared indoor spaces, managing the indoor air won’t eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially among unvaccinated people, but it can significantly reduce it, particularly when combined with other safety precautions (like use of face coverings, limits on the number of people in the space, and vigilant social distancing).  (For more information, see the CDC’s scientific brief on airborne transmission of coronavirus.)

In general, the more people you have in an indoor environment, (especially if some are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19), the greater the need for increasing the circulation of fresh, outdoor air to dilute airborne particles.  Provide fresh air to the areas of your buildings with the highest number of occupants.  In areas where you are unable to increase outdoor air, consider reducing the number of people even further, spacing people at least six feet apart, and taking other measures to improve ventilation and air filtration. 

Who Should Follow This Guidance?

This guidance is intended to assist a wide variety of businesses, offices, schools, restaurants, faith-based organizations, and other non-healthcare industries in identifying general steps to improve ventilation in indoor spaces and reduce the risk of transmission.  Healthcare facilities should follow their Infection Prevention and Control Plan and other healthcare-specific requirements.  

What Steps Should My Facility Take to Improve Ventilation and Air Filtration?

Take the following steps to improve the quality of indoor air in your facility and reduce the potential for long-range, airborne coronavirus transmission:

  1. Require the Use of Face Coverings– – Face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in an indoor environment by as much as 50% and are therefore critical for persons who are not yet fully vaccinated. Face coverings must be worn at all times required by CDPH’s Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings or Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards.  Good ventilation and air filtration is especially important for indoor facilities like restaurants, where face coverings must be temporarily removed to engage in activities like eating and drinking.
  2. Increase Outdoor Air Exchange – Increasing outdoor air circulation is one of the simplest ways to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission, so long as doing so doesn’t pose a greater safety or health risk to anybody using the facility.
    • Open doors and windows to increase fresh air circulation when environmental, building, and safety conditions allow. Consider modifications to your facility to make opening doors and windows safe and feasible: like replacing non-opening windows with ones that easily open or installing mesh screens or grates.  If your building also has a mechanical ventilation system, be sure to evaluate the impact of open windows/doors in accordance with step #3 below.
    • Consider using portable fans to maximize the effectiveness of open windows and doors. However, if doing so, be careful to position fans to point away from occupants and to avoid blowing air from one person to another (which may spread the virus).  Instead, position fans near doors and windows and use them to draw or blow air from the inside of the facility to the outside, instead of blowing air inside.  Create an airflow plan to maximize the movement of indoor air to the outside.
  3. Upgrade Existing Mechanical Ventilation System - If your facility has an existing Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, have it evaluated by an experienced HVAC professional to make sure it is functioning properly and to consider feasible and appropriate upgrades.  Upgrades may increase circulation of outside air and also remove presence of aerosols through filtration.  Consider upgrading the efficiency of your system’s mechanical filter to the highest efficiency compatible with the air handling system and currently installed filter rack; ideally, filter efficiency should be MERV 13 or greater.  Be sure to regularly inspect air handling systems and filters to ensure they are properly operating, and filters are appropriately installed, serviced and within service life.  Consider adopting these additional ventilation and air filtration protocols as appropriate to your system:
    • Increase the percentage of outdoor air through the HVAC system, readjusting or overriding recirculation (“economizer”) dampers.
    • Try to keep the humidity between 40% and 60%.
    • Run air handling systems for longer hours, including before and after the space is occupied.
    • Seal edges of the filter to limit bypass.
    • Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy, and maintain systems that increase fresh air supply.
    • Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible.
    • Ensure ongoing, routine maintenance of the HVAC system in all areas, but especially smaller rooms with exhaust fans, such as restrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens.
    • Monitor the effectiveness of the system by measuring ventilation directly, when possible. Building owners/operators can review specific components such as air flow rates (outdoor air vs. recirculated air) and the pressure differences between higher risk areas (e.g., bathrooms and dining areas) and other areas.

    For further detail, see the October 5, 2020 Guidance for Re-Opening Buildings by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

  4. Install Portable Air Cleaners – A variety of portable air cleaners, commonly called HEPA filters, can be purchased and used in indoor spaces to increase the removal of small airborne particles. Consider using these filters where there is no or poor outdoor ventilation, no HVAC system, or when upgrades to the HVAC system are not feasible.  These come with a range of sizes, features and prices.  It is recommended to purchase units which are certified for ozone emissions and electrical safety by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and to avoid ozone-producing air cleaners.  Also ensure the unit is appropriately sized for the room it is used in, using methods such as the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR).
  5. Additional Considerations
    • Locate indoor activities in large rooms that have high ceilings, creating more space for exhaled particles to disperse. Control the number of people entering the room.
    • Set ceiling fans to pull air upward, rather than pushing it downward toward room occupants.
    • Consider, where appropriate, installing appropriately designed and deployed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to deactivate airborne virus particles.
    • Note that ventilation and air filtration measures also apply to enclosed tents set up for events or businesses. Open tent sides as much as possible to increase outdoor air exchange, and note that tents with two or more closed sides qualify as indoor spaces under the County’s Health Officer Order.

Consult an HVAC Professional

The information in this guidance is for general audiences who may have questions about air quality in buildings and mitigation measures to reduce risk of airborne coronavirus transmission.  Many buildings have complex HVAC systems, and it is important to work with an HVAC professional to evaluate your building’s ventilation, filtration, and air cleaning system and consider the upgrades and improvements that are appropriate to your system and space and that will comply with the Cal/OSHA ETS’s requirements for ventilation.

Additional Resources:

United States Centers for Disease Control:

Ventilation in Buildings

Employer Information for Office Buildings

Operating schools during COVID-19: CDC's Considerations

Wildfire Smoke and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions and Resources for Air Resource Advisors and Other Environmental Health Professionals

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE):

ASHRAE Resources Available to Address COVID-19 Concerns

Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

ASHRAE Reopening Schools and Universities C19 Guidance

ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force: Building Readiness

United States Environmental Protection Agency:

Ventilation and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Indoor Air in Homes and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Science and Technical Resources related to Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home

World Health Organization:

Q&A: Ventilation and air conditioning in public spaces and buildings and COVID-19

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Additional State and Federal Guidance

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

State of California

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health - Cal OSHA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Assistance and Resources

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

Financing and Resources for Small Businesses

  • On the SBA website, there is information about several temporary relief programs to support small businesses that were established by the CARES Act and subsequent legislation.
  • The Northern California Small Business Development Center can help small businesses navigate resources and answer business questions.
  • Small businesses that participated in the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), can find information about PPP loan forgiveness on the SBA website. Further information on the PPP is available from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  • California IBank has low-interest and state-guaranteed business loans and microloans for small business borrowers who have been impacted by regional disasters and who need term loans or lines of credit for working capital.
  • The California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) for Small Business encourages banks and other financial institutions to make loans to small businesses that have difficulty obtaining financing. If you own a small business and need a loan for start-up, expansion, or working capital, you may receive more favorable loan terms from a lender if your loan is enrolled in the CalCAP Loan Loss Reserve Program. A list of participating lending institutions is available here.
  • The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) offers resource information on financial and technical assistance for small businesses throughout California.
  • Employee Retention Credit: The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.  Wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2021, are eligible for the credit. 
  • The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship created this Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act to help small business owners navigate the resources introduced by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • Employers who have difficulty locating and purchasing non-medical grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their workers may utilize Safely Making California, a partnership between the State, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, and Autodesk. Safely Making California helps connect employers to manufacturers of non-medical grade PPE.

Sales and Use Tax Liability (State of California) - Extensions and Relief for Small Business Taxpayers

Effective December 15, 2020, small business taxpayers with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales can take advantage of a 12-month, interest-free payment plan for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability.  All payment plans must be paid in full by April 30, 2022, to qualify for zero interest. Businesses with $5 million or more in annual taxable sales in sectors particularly impacted by operational restrictions due to the pandemic may also apply for this 12-month interest-free payment plan.  (Please Note: This relief only applies to sales and use tax due on returns with original due dates between December 15, 2020 and April 30, 2021. A business that previously took advantage of the 12-month, interest-free payment plan that must be paid in full by July 31, 2021, may also request to participate in this new 12-month interest-free payment plan.)  For more details and to apply, visit the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration’s website or call 1-800-400-7115 (California Relay Service: 711).​

Workforce Resources

  • The Labor & Workforce Development Agency has compiled a centralized source of information on topics such as paid sick leave, disability and unemployment insurance, workplace health and safety guidance, and employer assistance. Use the guidance on their website to determine what is best for you, your family, and your workplace.
  • 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 a variety of resources for employers who anticipate a reduction of work hours, or potential closure or layoffs as a result of COVID-19. Employers experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 may also request up to a 60-day extension from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at (888) 745-3886 (TTY: 1-800-547-9565).
  • 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.

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Guidance for Workers

We offer the following tips on how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) for you and your family. All workers should get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.  For more information on how to get vaccinated, visit the County’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage.

When Going to Work:

If each of us wears a mask, everyone is protected


  • While commuting to or from work, you are required to wear face coverings at all times required by CDPH’s Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.
  • If you are not yet fully vaccinated, riding alone in a private vehicle is the safest way to travel.
  • We know this is not possible for all workers who are not yet fully vaccinated. If you go to work with others in the same car, but are not yet fully vaccinated,  wear a face covering over your mouth and nose and keep the car windows open whenever possible.
  • If you go to work on public transportation, you must wear a face covering while waiting for and riding the bus or train. For more guidance on public transportation requirements, see VTA or Caltrain​.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • If possible, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to use after touching surfaces such as ticket machines, handrails, and doors.

When at Work:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get to work and during your shift. Wash for at least 20 seconds. If handwashing facilities are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
  • Wear a face covering over your mouth and nose at all times required by Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards.

At Home:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer as soon as you get home.
  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, then throw out the used tissue.

Make a Plan in Case You Get Sick:

  • Plan how you will meet your essential needs if you become sick.
  • Keep a supply of non-perishable food, household items, cleaning supplies, and medications on hand so that you can minimize and space out your trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, and other locations.
  • Determine who will be responsible for activities such as grocery shopping and other essential activities if you become sick. Is there someone in the home who can help? Is there a family or close friend who can drop off groceries to the door?

Employees of Affected Businesses/Unemployment Claims

  • 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.
  • The Workers page on the State’s COVID-19 website lists information on unemployment insurance, help for self-employed workers and independent contractors, and more.
  • This chart created by the State’s Labor & Workforce Development Agency lists the benefits available to workers affected by COVID-19.
  • Multiple fact sheets relating to COVID-19 in the workplace are available on Legal Aid at Work’s website.

Free Support Services:

  • For housing support for those that are homeless, call the County's Joint Operations Center at 408-278-6420.
  • For those needing support that have been identified as close contact to a positive case or are positive for COVID-19, please call 408-808-7770. Please review all Isolation & Quarantine support services here.
  • For food assistance, call Second Harvest Food Bank at 1-800-984-3663.
  • If you do not have a regular doctor, please call the Primary Care Access Program at 408-556-6605 to speak to a doctor about your symptoms.
  • For information on COVID-19 testing in the County—including who should get tested and where—visit the County Public Health Department website:
  • Remember, getting help for COVID-19 will not reduce your chances of obtaining U.S. residency or citizenship. So please, reach out for help if you need it.
  • To see if you qualify for a program that can cover a portion of your lost wages due to COVID-19 visit: or call 1-866-870-7725.
  • If your employer is not complying with business requirements to operate or the Social Distancing Protocol, call the County of Santa Clara Office of Labor Standards Enforcement at 1-866-870-7725 or visit to report any deficiencies in compliance with Protocol requirements.


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Please review the County’s Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have additional questions not addressed by the FAQs or would like to provide us with feedback, please reach out to us by either filling out the form below or call the COVID-19 Business Call Center at (408) 961-5500, Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm, for any inquires related to your business or workplace.​​

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