All California residents ordered to “stay at home”
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California is taking the most significant step anywhere in the country to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering all California residents to stay at home or at their place of residence until further notice. Some businesses can stay open, and Californians can still leave to get things like food and health care.
For California businesses waking up to this today, what does their day look like? Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams has the latest. The following is an edited transcript of her conversation with Marketplace’s David Brancaccio.
Kimberly Adams: Those that haven’t already shut down in-person operations are going to be scrambling to wind down. The San Francisco Bay Area already had similar measures in place, so there is some precedent for what this will look like. But now we are talking about the whole state, and whether a business keeps its doors open comes down to whether it’s considered “essential.”
David Brancaccio: So, what are “essential businesses”?
Adams: Obvious ones: grocery stores, banks, gas stations, pharmacies. There are federal government guidelines detailing 16 industries that may not jump to mind: the people who keep your water and electricity on, people who make sure your internet holds up, people who maintain nuclear reactors to make sure those are running OK.
Brancaccio: But “essential” also has some gray areas.
Adams: Absolutely. Some retail stores, for example, are covered if they provide “essential” goods. You might not think video games are essential, but retailer GameStop is claiming it should stay open because it also sells webcams and things people need for telework and remote learning.
Here’s what Jason Straczewski of the National Retail Federation had to say:
“It’s a very gray area at the moment. There’s a wide range of workers or areas of the workforce that the government deems as essential during this pandemic. However, governors are given leeway to make additions or subtractions based on what they’ve deemed necessary to their state’s economy.”
Technically, under these federal government guidelines, casinos and theme parks could be considered critical infrastructure. But it’s pretty obvious that’s not what California leadership is going for right now.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.
U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
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