Employees who contract COVID-19 on the job during the state’s stay-at-home order may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
It applies to workers whose jobs require them to work outside their homes during the shutdown.
“We are removing a burden for workers on the front lines, who risk their own health and safety to deliver critical services to our fellow Californians, so that they can access benefits, and be able to focus on their recovery,” Newsom said in a press release.
With many workers and small business owners cooped up at home amid the coronavirus shutdown, people who are still working but unable to do so from home have been on the front lines and may be at risk of catching the infection.
Eligible workers will have “a rebuttable presumption” for accessing the workers’ comp benefits if they test positive or have tested positive within 14 days of performing work duties between March 19 and the next 60 days, according to the governor’s office.
That means that infected workers will begin under the assumption that they contracted the virus at work, but employers will have a chance to challenge their claims.
Additionally, Newsom signed another order that waives penalties for residential and small business property taxes paid after April 10 as long as the taxpayers can prove they faced coronavirus-related financial hardship between that day and May 6 of next year.
The moves come as state and local governments in California take early steps toward reopening their economies.
“As we look toward opening our local communities and economies, we want to make sure that those that have been most impacted have the ability to get back on their feet,” Newsom said.
California has seen more than 60,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 2,400 deaths as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Earlier this week, there were protests against the governor’s order to shut down a number of Southern California beaches and the broader economy, but Newsom is now rolling out phase 2 of the state’s economic reopening plan.