California Employers Should Review Travel Quarantine Requirements

By Stephanie T. Yang © Jackson Lewis January 5, 2021
woman wearing mask sitting in car

In mid-November, as cases continued to rise, the California Department of Public Health issued a travel advisory which recommended quarantining for those who returned to the state from other states or countries. The advisory distinguished between "nonessential travel" such as tourism and "essential travel" such as for work, study, economic services, immediate medical care, or health and safety.

Before the state advisory, the county of Santa Clara issued an order which required all person traveling into Santa Clara County from a point of origin 150 miles from the county border to quarantine for 10 days after arrival. The county had exemptions from the quarantine requirements for licensed health care professionals, persons traveling to perform essential governmental functions or those working for essential critical infrastructure work.

San Francisco also issued a travel quarantine order, which requires anyone who in the 10 days before arriving in San Francisco spent any time outside of the 10 Bay Area counties (San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Santa Cruz) to quarantine for 10 days, including residents. Similar to Santa Clara, San Francisco exempts health care professionals, employees of essential infrastructure who are traveling for work and employees of an essential business who must return to work due to a lack of staffing.

Most recently, the county of Los Angeles issued a travel quarantine order, which requires that those traveling outside the Southern California Region (Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura) quarantine for 10 days after arrival. Like San Francisco and Santa Clara, certain types of employees such as licensed health care professionals and those commuting for work for essential infrastructure may be exempt from the order. Also exempted from the Los Angeles County order are professional or collegiate sports teams and team staff and personnel of a film or media production traveling for work.

Employers should be aware of the quarantine and travel quarantine orders applicable to their employees and consider whether there is a supplemental paid-sick-leave requirement for an employee who needs to quarantine.

Stephanie T. Yang is an attorney with Jackson Lewis in San Francisco. © 2021 Jackson Lewis. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission. 



Hire the best HR talent or advance your own career.

Break California’s intricate labor code.

Successfully interpret and apply California employment law to your organization’s people practices.

Successfully interpret and apply California employment law to your organization’s people practices.



HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.