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San Francisco’s 10-Day Journey Quarantine Order Tells Vacation Vacationers to Keep House, Although Santa Probably Excepted | Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Synopsis. On December 18, 2020, San Francisco imposed a 10-day quarantine on most people traveling or returning to the city for more than 24 hours. The order does not apply to travel within the larger Bay Area or to certain visitors, including those who stay no longer than 24 hours, those seeking medical treatment, and those coming into town to provide essential services. While the regulation does not require employers to monitor their employees’ personal journeys, the order does require employers to prohibit workers from returning to work if they become aware of the journey. Any non-working time due to this travel quarantine is regulated by the employer’s existing leisure time guidelines. The order is valid until at least January 4, 2021. Fortunately, the order is unlikely to affect a famous traveler on December 24, unless their sled fails and they have to stay in town for more than 24 hours.

In response to COVID-19-related concerns about vacation travel, San Francisco has issued a mandatory quarantine order for many people traveling in and out of the city. The order runs from December 18, 2020 to January 4, 2021 and requires most people to travel to the city for more than 24 hours or return home after 10 days of quarantine. While affected individuals may leave home to be tested for COVID-19, a negative test does not shorten the 10-day quarantine period.


The order makes exceptions for some travelers. For example, this does not apply to:

  • People who started their trip before December 18th;
  • Individuals who move through San Francisco but do not stay longer than 24 hours; and
  • Other Bay Area residents (defined as people from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma counties).

However, the order encourages residents and individuals in the Bay Area who began traveling before the order went into effect to adhere to the quarantine policy.

For parents and children concerned about the Order’s impact on Santa, the 24-hour exemption is likely to apply to his December 24th work.

The order also excludes a number of key workers and others who come to the city for specific assignments, including:

  • Licensed Healthcare Professionals
  • Anyone who comes to San Francisco to work in an acute hospital
  • Individuals who perform essential government functions or work on essential infrastructure
  • People caring for minors, the elderly or people with disabilities
  • People receiving medical care
  • Individuals asked by their employer to enter the city to work for an essential San Francisco company due to a staff shortage
  • Individuals traveling for law enforcement or a court order
  • Individuals who are members of professional or university sports teams and who travel for a game
  • People who are part of a film production, provided they meet certain requirements

Impact on employers.

The city’s FAQs make it clear that employers may have some responsibilities as part of the ordering process. Corporations are not required to (and cannot under applicable California law) restrict their employees’ personal travel, nor are businesses required to inquire about where their employees have traveled. However, if an employer learns that an employee has traveled outside of the Bay Area, the employer must prohibit the employee from returning to work during the quarantine period.

The appointment does not require companies to approve paid employee quarantine time off. Instead, it deviates from the normal guidelines of an employer. If the employee is entitled to free time under these guidelines, they should be given it. However, if the employee’s conduct or leisure time is contrary to the employer’s normal guidelines, the employee may be disciplined.


The only companies asked to order are transportation facilities. You must notify incoming travelers by either giving the travelers a copy of the notice accompanying the order or by posting the notice and making periodic announcements.

While hopefully this is a quick caveat, employers should brush up on travel order in San Francisco and be prepared if they learn of employees traveling outside of the Bay Area on vacation.

Seyfarths Workplace Solutions can help you with these and other COVID-19 questions.

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