Safer Measures and Policies Change in Response to COVID-19 Effects
PUA Applications are available beginning April 28, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 health emergency, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order supporting California workers in the food sector industry on April 16, 2020. The order provides extra health and safety standards to these employees, such as those working in grocery stores, including a guidance document on COVID-19 infection prevention in grocery stores.
This document suggests that grocery stores should ensure that customers that bring their own bags follow these procedures:
• Bags are not placed on conveyor belts or any other area outside of shopping carts.
• Bags make no contact with employees.
• Customers bag their own groceries. Customers do not bag groceries in the checkout area if they cannot maintain physical distancing. Groceries can be placed in a cart and bagged elsewhere by the customers. Increase the frequency of disinfection in bagging areas used by customers.
Additionally, Gov. Newsom has suspended California’s ban on grocery stores providing single-use plastic bags amid health risk concerns. Shoppers in Bellflower will (temporarily) not be charged the extra 10¢ for thin plastic bags.The executive order signed on April 23, 2020 does not affect the more than 100 cities and counties that adopted their own ordinances banning or regulating single-use plastic bags.
For workers who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic, the State of California will be rolling out a new application for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program on April 28, 2020.
If you are not a citizen of the United States, you cannot be paid PUA benefits unless you were legally permitted to work in the United States at the time such services were performed. In addition, you must also meet one of the following criteria (listed on their website). Applications arenow being accepted as of April 28th, and the first payments would go out within 24 to 48 hours. Once payments begin, Newsom emphasized they would be retroactive, so those who have been waiting to receive payments for several weeks would be compensated for that time.
The best protection against COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if you are sick, practice physical distancing and wear a face covering when in contact with others from outside your household. For current health and safety info visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
The PUA benefits are payable if you don’t qualify for regular UI benefits in California or another state and also do not qualify for State Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave benefits. This includes:
Individuals who may have qualified for regular UI benefits but have collected all benefits for which they are eligible.
If you are not a citizen of the United States, you cannot be paid PUA benefits unless you were legally permitted to work in the United States at the time such services were performed. In addition, you must be authorized to work for any week of PUA benefits claimed to be eligible for payments.
You must also meet one of the following criteria:
You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
You are unable to work because a health care provider advised you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
A child or other person in the household for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 and the school or facility care is required for you to work.
You became the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
You have to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
You were scheduled to start a job that is now unavailable as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
You are unable to reach the place of employment as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
If you work as an independent contractor with reportable income, you may also qualify for PUA benefits if you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, and has thereby forced you to stop working.