How do the state and local orders impact dealership operations?
The following is an outline of the status of in-person and online vehicle sales in California as of July 16, 2021:
LA County Issues New Indoor Mask Mandate; Sacramento and Yolo Counties Issue Advisories.
Earlier today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the return of the indoor mask mandate. Sacramento County and Yolo County also recently issued non-binding advisories recommending that people wear masks indoors.
The LA County order is scheduled to go into effect on 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 17. As such, LA County dealerships should prepare to resume requiring both customers and employees to wear masks indoors beginning Sunday morning.
The LA County Department of Public Health order has not yet been issued, but we expect it to be posted on their website by Friday. (Click here) You should review the final order before implementing changes at your dealership. If you have questions, do not hesitate to call our legal hotline at 916-441-2599.
At this point, we are not aware of any other local jurisdictions planning to implement a mask mandate, but new mandates may be possible in the event COVID-19 case numbers continue to increase.
Cal/OSHA Adopts New COVID-19 Rules – Fully Vaccinated Employees No Longer Required to Wear Masks In Most Situations. (Updated June 18, 2020)
Yesterday, the Cal/OSHA Board adopted new rules that relax a variety of requirements related to COVID-19 prevention in employment settings (including dealerships). Following adoption, Governor Newsom immediately issued an executive order, which made these new rules effective once they are filed with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). (Click here.)
Since OAL filing is imminent, and there is no longer any doubt regarding Cal/OSHA’s decision, it is reasonable for California dealerships to begin implementing the new Cal/OSHA rules beginning June 18.
Significant changes in the new Cal/OSHA rules include:
- Fully vaccinated employees no longer need to wear masks in most circumstances, including indoors. Notable exceptions include when employees are in a vehicle with other persons (such as test drives or shuttle service).
- No employees need to wear face masks outdoors, but the use of masks outdoors is still recommended for employees that are not fully vaccinated when such employees cannot maintain 6 feet distance.
- Employers must gather and maintain information regarding employee vaccination status
- Most physical barrier and distancing requirements have been removed. (Distancing and barriers can still be required during certain outbreaks.)
- Employers will need to provide N95 respirators to employees upon request.
Notably, daily symptom screenings for all employees must continue, and symptomatic employees must continue to be excluded from the workplace.
The new Cal/OSHA rules are designed to align with the California Department of Public Health’s mask and distancing guidance, which was effective for dealership customers on June 15. (Click here.)
An updated sample face mask notice, which reflects these new rules, is available on CNCDA Comply. (Click here.)
Cal/OSHA has issued an FAQ on its new rules, which you can access by clicking here.
You can access the regulations by clicking here.
California Announces Face Mask Rules Effective June 15 – Doesn’t Apply to Employees (Updated June 15, 2021)
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued its updated rules on face masks, which take effect on June 15. The new rules state that face masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals, excepted in limited circumstances.
Critically, these rules do not apply to employees, which are separately regulated by a more stringent Cal/OSHA rule.
Barring any last minute changes, the following appears to be the status of California’s face mask rules for customers on June 15:
- Fully vaccinated customers – face masks are not required indoors or outdoors, with the exception of test drives (with more than one person) and shuttle services, where face masks appear to be still required.
- Not fully vaccinated customers – face masks are still generally required indoors and outdoors. However, they are not required outdoors where distancing can be maintained.
The CDPH order further states that businesses can simply allow customers to self-attest that they are fully vaccinated prior to entry. It’s also okay for a business to continue to require all customers to wear masks. Finally, the order states that businesses should not prevent anyone from wearing a mask, if they elect to do so.
You can access the CDPH order by clicking here.
In sum, it appears that beginning June 15, California will no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear face masks at dealerships, but that dealership employees will still be required to wear face masks in many circumstances, even if they are fully vaccinated. We are cautiously optimistic that Cal/OSHA will relax this requirement for employees in the coming weeks, but it has not yet done so.
Watch a Recording of the Latest Coronavirus Webinar.
In case you missed it, the latest coronavirus compliance is available on CNCDA Comply. Important topics discussed include face coverings, vaccinations, and the state’s “reopening” on June 15. You can access it by clicking here.
CNCDA COVID-19 Member Toolkit.
To learn more about COVID-19 restrictions impacting California dealerships, please review our member toolkit, which is accessible here.
Please Continue to Contact CNCDA To Report Important Information.
CNCDA’s greatest resource is our relationship to our dealer members and the many business leaders and attorneys that serve them. Please do not hesitate to contact CNCDA to report important information, such as examples of how your dealership has helped customers with critical transportation needs, local enforcement actions or legal developments. Such reports should be directed to Brian Maas, President (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Anthony Bento, Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs (email@example.com). And as always, do not hesitate to call us at 916-441-2599, or visit our Dealership Coronavirus Resources webpage at https://www.cncda.org/dealer-coronavirus-resources/.
To add employees to your CNCDA organization roster so they begin receiving these updates, please submit their contact information here.
Who should I notify when there is workplace exposure to COVID-19?
The rules involving employer notification requirements related to workplace exposure of COVID-19 continue to multiply. To assist your dealership in complying with these requirements, we’ve prepared the following outline:
- All employees who may have had COVID-19 exposure and their authorized representatives (e.g., union representatives). (Click here.)
- When is notification required? When employees may have been exposed to COVID-19. Exposure may have occurred for employees that shared a work area/common area with the infected individual within 2 days of the infected individual testing positive or developed symptoms.
- Deadline to notify? 1 business day.
- Independent contractors and other employers present during the high-risk exposure period. (Click here.)
- When is notification required? Whenever there is COVID-19 exposure at your dealership.
- Deadline to notify? 1 business day.
- Local Health Department (Click here and here.)
- When is notification required? When an “outbreak” occurs (i.e., 3 or more employees contract COVID-19 within a 14 day period)
- Deadline to notify? 48 hours.
- Cal/OSHA (Click here)
- When is notification required? When there is workplace transmission of COVID-19. Immediate notification required for serious injury/death.
- How long to notify? 8 hours (if serious injury/death), recorded on Log 300 (for all COVID-19 illnesses).
- Workers’ Compensation Claims Administrator (See SB 1159; Click here.)
- When is notification required? Employee tests positive.
- Deadline to notify? 3 business days.
- Local Agency Reporting (Santa Clara County) (Click here.)
- When is notification required? If your dealership operates in Santa Clara County and there is a positive case of COVID-19 at your dealership.
- Deadline to notify: 4 hours.
- When reporting this information, you must take care to maintain the confidentiality of the infected employee. You can read more about COVID-19 notification requirements by clicking here.
What Paid Leave Obligations Do California Dealers Have?
Updated March 22, 2021
Feds Extend FFCRA Paid Leave Reimbursement. On March 11, President Biden signed the new COVID stimulus law (the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) into law. The massive $1.9 trillion stimulus includes various provisions, including stimulus checks for middle and low income Americans, and an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits.
Particularly noteworthy for dealers, the law extends the FFCRA emergency paid leave tax credit through October 1, 2021. This means that employers that provide paid COVID sick leave may continue to be eligible for tax credit to offset the cost of providing leave. You can read more about this development on the Scali Rasmussen website by clicking here.
California Approves Substantial New COVID Paid Leave Requirement.
On March 19, Governor Newsom signed into law a bill that dramatically expands COVID-related paid leave requirements for the vast majority of California employers. Among other things, this new requirement applies to employers with more than 25 employees and establishes a new “bank” of COVID-19 related sick leave for covered employees for 2021 – even if they were previously provided such leave in 2020. The law is effective in 10 days.
The Fisher Phillips law firm has a detailed description of this new law, which you can access here.
CNCDA joined several other businesses groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, in opposing the bill. Although the legislature made some changes at the request of the business community, the requirements in the final bill are substantial and demand your attention.
I need assistance on employment issues. Where should I go?
The Fine, Boggs, and Perkins LLP firm has developed new FAQs and other documents, which assist dealers on critical questions involving coronavirus related matters, including the new federal leave law and recent changes to layoff procedures under the sate WARN Act. You can receive copies of these resources on the legal updates potion of their website.
The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) also has a dedicated website on coronavirus resources for employers and workers. These resources include a FAQ on relevant California laws and website that provides a helpful chart that identifies benefits for workers impacted by the coronavirus.
Governor Newsom also signed an executive order creating a workers’ compensation presumption that makes it much easier for employees to qualify for benefits if they test positive for COVID-19. To help businesses understand how this presumption works, the California Chamber of Commerce and the Mullen & Filippi law firm created a “COVID Claim Presumption Flowchart.” You can access the chart by clicking here.
Federal Paid Leave Requirements (FFCRA)
The US Department of Labor’s (DOL) website contains various helpful resources on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), including a Q&A page and a downloadable poster (which employers are required to post under the law). You can access the DOL’s website here.
CNCDA dealer members can also contact Fine, Boggs, and Perkins LLP free of charge as a CNCDA member benefit. Their contact information is:
(650) 712-8908 (Half Moon Bay Office)
(858) 451-1240 (San Diego Office)
(562) 366-0861 (Long Beach Office)
Why Should I Consult My Tax Professional Before Claiming the Employee Retention Credit?
Updated February 12, 2021
The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 made a number of changes to the employee retention tax credits previously made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including modifying and extending the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), for six months through June 30, 2021.
Another significant change provides that retroactive to March 27, 2020, employers who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans may now potentially claim the ERC for qualified wages that are not treated as payroll costs in obtaining forgiveness of the PPP loan. As a result, many businesses (including dealerships) that received PPP loans are evaluating whether they may now qualify for the ERC.
Two tests determine whether a business is eligible for the ERC. The first test requires a business to show a 50% decline in gross receipts during a calendar quarter in 2020 (or a 20% decline in 2021) when compared to 2019. The second test evaluates whether there has been a full or partial suspension of business operations due to a state or local COVID-19 health order.
Several dealers have contacted CNCDA about whether the recent state and local orders restricting occupancy at dealerships could constitute a “partial suspension” of business operations, which would potentially qualify the dealership to claim the ERC. Although the IRS continues to update its FAQ on this topic, it appears unlikely that an occupancy limitation alone qualifies a business to claim the ERC. You can access the IRS’s FAQ on this topic by clicking here.
If your dealership is considering claiming the ERC, please consult an experienced tax professional. CNCDA members should also note that this topic will be discussed in detail in our upcoming webinar with DHG on March 3. You can register for this webinar here.
A Note About Completing Your PPP Loan Forgiveness Application.
We received several inquiries from dealerships throughout California on when dealerships had “been ordered to shut down by a state or local authority due to COVID-19.” This question is important for dealers that are completing their PPP loan forgiveness application.
In-store dealership vehicle sales operations were arguably shutdown throughout California from March 19, 2020 through April 17, 2020. California’s statewide order issued on March 19, 2020 directed everyone to stay at home that was not needed to maintain “continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors” as outlined in the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) documentation. (click here) “Auto sales” was not included in the CISA guidance until version 3.0 of the guidance was issued on April 17. As such, dealerships statewide were likely subject to a partial shutdown order from March 19 through April 17. Moreover, various local jurisdictions adopted more restrictive orders, including Los Angeles County, various Bay Area counties, and Fresno County.
I need assistance on taxation and/or accounting issues. Where should I go?
A variety of programs have been launched by government agencies to allow businesses to delay tax obligations due to the coronavirus crisis. This allows businesses to retain cash on hand in the near term.
- The IRS has a special page on coronavirus tax relief.
- The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) has a webpage that outlines the process to request tax relief.
- Dixon Hughes Goodman has a comprehensive COVID-19 resources webpage.
- Moss Adams also has a variety of resources available on taxation issues, such as Guidance Issued for 90-Day Federal Tax Payment Deferral, and State of California Emergency Tax Relief Provisions.
Vehicle Registration and DMV Related Issues
I need assistance on vehicle registration or related issues. Where should I go?
For those dealers who are continue to make limited sales, processing registration and titles remains an essential dealership function consistent with the Governor’s order. Dealers should closely monitor their registration operations to ensure they retain enough personnel to properly process transactions. DMVDesk/Vitu is also available to answer dealership questions and meet all their needs, regardless of whether or not they are DMVDesk/Vitu clients.
You can contact them 24/7 at: 818-706-1949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How should salespersons renew their licenses during this crisis?
During this crisis, DMV has confirmed with CNCDA that salesperson renewals can be submitted via mail to the following address:
For mail deliveries:
Occupational Licensing Section
P.O. Box MS L224
Sacramento, CA 94232-3420
For courier deliveries only (No Public Access)
Occupational Licensing Section
8243 Demetre Ave
Sacramento, CA 95828
What is CNCDA doing to help dealers during this crisis?
CNCDA began remote operations on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Since this time, CNCDA staff has been in continuous contact with local and state officials on issues involving coronavirus and your business. Our legal hotline (916-441-2599) continues to operate and staff is fully accessible by phone or email. And we are continuously developing compliance resources (such as this website and daily alerts) to help our members during this difficult time.
I’d like to access your webinar recordings. Where should I go?
Click here to access the Coronavirus Laws and Your Dealership webinar recordings.
Is your dealership contributing to your local community during this time of difficulty? Let us know!
If you or other dealerships are involved in positive community efforts during this global pandemic, please share with CNCDA so we can continue to pass along acts of kindness taking place throughout our great state in this time of crisis. Send stories to Brian Maas, President at email@example.com.