Santa Clara County’s April 29 Order Re-Opens Construction, Real-Estate and Outdoor Businesses

On April 29, 2020 the Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara released a revised emergency health order in support of the County's efforts to slow the rate of the spread of COVID-19, aka to "flatten the curve". The April 29 Order, linked here, extends the existing Shelter-in-Place orders through May 31, 2020. However, in light of the progress made in allowing the spread of COVID-19 the order allows a limited number of essential businesses and "lower risk" outdoor businesses to resume operating. These include:

Construction

Construction is back online, subject to businesses following the safety protocols set out in Appendix B1 and B2 to the Order. Residential projects including single-family, multi-family, senior, student or other residential construction as well as renovations or remodels can now move forward once again. The new Order also applies to commercial projects and large-scale construction projects, i.e. residential projects greater than 10 units and commercial projects consisting of more than 20,000 square feet of floor space.

Real-Estate

Real estate transactions, including rentals, leases, and home sales may resume. However, appointments and real estate viewings are to occur virtually or by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household and one individual showing the unit. In person visits are still not allowed when the residence is occupied.

Outdoor Business

Outdoor businesses may now resume operations. Outdoor business means businesses that normally operated outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, such as wholesale and retail plant nurseries, agricultural operations, and garden centers. Additionally, service providers that primarily provide outdoor services such as landscaping and gardening services, and environmental site remediation services may also resume operations.

The County has provided a "Frequently Asked Questions" page, which may be accessed here.

Violation of the order continues to be punishable as a misdemeanor by fine, imprisonment or both. The new order goes into effect on May 4, 2020. Whether you are a real estate professional, a buyer or seller, or a contractor, owner, tenant, or lender dealing with a construction project, the County's new order may greatly impact your bottom line. Our attorneys at RHRC are on the cutting edge working to assist our clients in responding and adapting to the rapid developments in this area of the law. This order's impact on construction, real-estate, contracts, and other issues must be analyzed on a case by case basis. Therefore, if you have any questions whatsoever as to how this new order may impact your business, we highly encourage you to contact our offices to schedule a consult with one of our expert attorneys. Although our attorneys are working remotely our offices are open and our staff remains dedicated to assisting you with your legal issues.

Contact our Client Relations Manager Christi Cruz at [email protected] to schedule a consult today.

For more information related to COVID-19 and developments in real-estate see the following:

If you are a real estate broker, agent, lender, buyer or seller in the market we highly encourage you to read this article by RHRC partner Ronald Rossi which includes tips on dealing with the new COVID-19 addendums to the California Association of Realtors (CAR) standard forms for real estate transactions as well as this article by RHRC partner David Hamerslough, which goes over recent COVID-19 related developments and changes to the CAR forms, and this article in which he further details the impact of the changes in the County's new shelter in place order on residential real estate viewings.

Finally, if you are a commercial landlord, tenant, or other interested party you should definitely read the following article by RHRC partner Ronald R. Rossi and associate Gabriel Rodriguez regarding COVID-19 and how those hoping to rely on the law to excuse performance should pause before doing so.