COVID-19 Executive Orders by Policy Area
March 19, 2020
Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources
In part, the order requests the California Public Utilities Commission to monitor and report on measures taken by utility providers related to shutoffs for those affected by COVID-19. This order also includes other protections for renters and homeowners which are described in more detail below. As related to consumer protection in utilities and energy, this Executive Order:
- Requests that the California Public Utilities Commission monitor measures undertaken by public and private utility providers to implement customer service protections for critical utilities, including but not limited to electric, gas, water, internet, landline telephone, and cell phone service, in response to COVID-19, and on a weekly basis publicly report these measures.
Government Finance and Administration
The order does the following:
- Waives the one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19.
- Delays the deadline for state tax filing by 60 days for individuals and businesses unable to file on time based on compliance with public health requirements related to COVID-19 filings.
- Directs residents to follow public health directives and guidance, including to cancel large non-essential gatherings that do not meet state criteria.
- Readies the state to commandeer property for temporary residences and medical facilities for quarantining, isolating or treating individuals.
- Allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically.
- Allows local and state emergency administrators to act quickly to protect public health.
- Replaces and revises the Bagley-Keene Act and Brown Act provisions from the Executive Order issued on March 12. The new language specifically states that there is no requirement for state or local legislative bodies to make a physical location available from which the public can make public comment, so long as options to participate telephonically or electronically are provided. Local bodies must still follow noticing requirements and implement a procedure for resolving requests for accommodation from individuals with disabilities. <CSAC advocated for this additional flexibility from the Brown Act requirements in order to further protect public health.>
Health and Human Services
In an effort to focus resources to protect vulnerable populations, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-27-20. The Executive Order does the following:
- Directs the state to immediately identify health, community care facilities, and other sites that house populations that are most vulnerable to COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to seniors and individual who require assisted-living services due to chronic health conditions.
- Directs the state to redirect resources and provide technical and compliance support to protect caregivers and those they care for.
- Requests enforcement activities to focus on where there are allegations of the most serious violations impacting health and safety.
- Directs the Health and Human Services Agency, in consultation with counties and labor organization and consumers, to leverage existing services and programs to support home isolation of vulnerable Californians, including seniors and those with serious chronic underlying health conditions.
- To address the increased demand for healthcare workers and first responders, state Departments shall authorize first responders, care providers, and workers who are asymptomatic and taking precautions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, to continue working during the period of this emergency.
Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-29-20 to ensure the continuation of vital county administered services. The Executive Order does the following:
- Waives eligibility re-determinations for 90 days for Californians who participate in:
- Medi-Cal health coverage
- CalFresh food assistance
- Cash Assistance for Immigrants; and
- In-Home Supportive Services
- Suspends the CalWORKs 48-month time limit through June 17, 2020
As local jurisdictions across the state work to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Governor took a significant step to ensure counties have immediate relief to shelter individuals who are homeless. The Executive Order directs the following:
- To suspend Health & Safety Codes section 50214 that may limit local jurisdictions from using Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds on preparing for and addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on homeless individuals.
- To suspend Health & Safety Code section 50219 that may limit local jurisdictions from using Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program (HHAP) funds on preparing for and addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on homeless individuals.
- To suspend Division 13 of the Public Resources Code and regulations for projects using HEAP or HHAP funds.
Housing, Land Use and Transportation
In an effort to promote housing security, the Governor’s Executive Order extends rent gouging protections and authorizes local agencies to enact eviction protections for renters and homeowners that may have otherwise been limited under state law. Specifically, the Executive Order:
- Authorizes local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners unable to cover their rent as a result of a substantial decrease in income or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses due to COVID-19 or government action in response to COVID-19. These protections are in effect until May 31, 2020.
- Requests that public housing authorities extend deadlines for housing assistance recipients or applicants to deliver records or documents related to their eligibility for programs, to the extent that those deadlines are within the housing authority’s discretion.
- Directs the Department of Business Oversight, in consultation with the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, to engage with financial institutions to identify tools to provide Californians relief from the threat of foreclosure and displacement and to promote housing security.
- Requests banks and other financial institutions to implement moratoriums on foreclosures and related evictions when they are related to a substantial decrease in income or out-of-pocket medical expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or government response to COVID-19.