On July 13, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a new order that will temporarily close many businesses in California. The order is in response to the rise in Covid-19 cases in California and is intended to slow its spread.
Will this new order require architectural firm offices to close? That depends on where firms are located.
The new order requires some businesses to close regardless of where they are located. These businesses are dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers (e.g. bowling alleys), zoos, museums, and cardrooms. This part of the order clearly does not include architectural firms.
Other types of businesses, including offices for non-essential services, must close if the county in which they are located has remained on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days. This part of the order may include an architectural firm, depending on the work being performed in the firm and the county in which it is located.
If the firm is located in a county that has remained on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days, the office can remain open only if 1) it is providing an essential service (work in support of construction is defined as an essential service) and 2) the local county has not issued a more restrictive order. If the firm is located in a county that has not remained on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days, its office may remain open.
Here is more information on the new order, including a running list of counties on the Monitor List and links to information on what counties are allowing (click on the county on the map of California).
For offices that can and will remain open, here are an office workspace guidance and an office workspace checklist from the State of California.