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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Governor Orders State Lockdown Amid COVID-19 Concerns

  • 2020-03-26T15:00:00.000+0000
  • California
  • Author: Jimmy Jackson

On Thursday, March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order that mandated, with some exceptions, that “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”

The list of essential critical infrastructure workers, which is being occasionally updated, outlined several health-related fields that had been deemed “critical” and could therefore continue operation with proper social distancing protocols observed. Two provisions touched on the life sciences most specifically:

Workers providing COVID-19 testing; Workers that perform critical clinical research needed for COVID-19 response.

Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, personal care/hygiene products, and tissue and paper towel products.

Although local orders in the Bay Area and Los Angeles (that preceded the statewide order) had clear and specific exemptions for life science companies, the state order is less clear except in cases of companies working specifically on COVID-19.

Member companies have felt the Governor’s order is ambiguous at best. We encourage you to consult appropriate counsel for an applicable interpretation for your company.
Biocom, BIO, CLSA and PhRMA are working diligently in a closely coordinated effort to try to secure a clarification from the administration insuring that all life science facilities can continue operation, as the work going on right now may be what prevents the next pandemic from happening.