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Governor issues executive order affecting the Brown Act; New guidance on public gatherings from the California Department of Public Health

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order this morning further enhancing California’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in the order is a directive that “allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically.” This directive impacts the Brown Act, which requires local government agencies in California to provide public notice of their meetings, post agendas of the subjects to be discussed at those meetings and provide public access to those meetings. Learn more in the Governor’s recently issued press release »

To protect public health and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), all gatherings of 250 people or more should be postponed at least through the end of March, according to new guidance issued Wednesday evening by the California Department of Public Health. Examples of these types of gatherings include concerts; conferences; and professional, college and school sporting events. The guidance also states that smaller gatherings may go forward if attendees can maintain a social distance of 6 feet from one another. In cases of people at high risk for contraction of COVID-19, gatherings of no more than 10 individuals is recommended. 

Gatherings that do not meet the stated criteria should only be conducted when they are essential — that is, if the activity is essential and could not be postponed or achieved without gathering, meaning that some other means of communication could not be used to conduct the essential function.

“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement. “That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now. The people in our lives who are most at risk — seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice.” 

The Governor addresses state efforts to assist California workers in a press release on March 12, as well as all guidance from the CDPH and California’s response thus far.
Read the Governor’s press release »

CSBA has released guidance specifically for board members that addresses everything from the need to review comprehensive safety plans and board policies to attendance issues to consulting with parents and community organizations when deciding whether to close a school. Read the CSBA guidance »