Through the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (“Go-Biz”), the State has issued substantive guidelines for businesses in different industries to follow with respect to how a business can maintain a safe environment for employees and consumers: https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/#guidance. These guidelines include temperature checks, health screenings, social distancing, staggered employee schedules, increased cleaning, protective equipment, and more. Local cities and counties are also adopting their own specific guidelines, some requiring masks even before the Governor announced the statewide mandate last week. Businesses have invested time and resources to restructure their stores, restaurants, and workspaces to comply with these guidelines.
But, even taking these proactive measures does not necessarily protect a business from a civil lawsuit. A consumer or contractor who claims to have gotten sick while visiting a business’s location will allege the business could have done more, could have acted more reasonably with regard to the safety precautions and measures taken. And what is the business’s defense? Compliance with CDC guidelines could be a defense.