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Upon a unanimous vote of its members, the Appeals Board just issued this en banc decision.

On March 4, 2020, the State of California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, declared a state of emergency in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus (now known as COVID-19).3 As of the date of this decision, several counties in the State of California, within which district offices of the WCAB are located, have issued a shelter-in-place order in response to COVID-19.

In light of this state of emergency and pursuant to its authority per WCAB Rule 10370, the Appeals Board is temporarily suspending specific WCAB Rules of Practice and Procedure contained in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 10370.) This suspension is applicable to all district offices in the State and applies to the following Rules:

— 1)Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, former §§ 10562, 10563, 10563.1, now §§ 10755, 10756, 10888 (eff. Jan. 1, 2020): Dismissal of an application or lien claim for failure to appear is suspended.

— 2) Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, former §§ 10860, 10865, 10866, now §§ 10961(a), 10962(c), 10990(f)(3)(E), 10995(c)(3) (eff. Jan. 1, 2020): Workers’ compensation judges (WCJs) and arbitrators shall have an unlimited extension of time within which to issue reports in response to petitions for reconsideration or removal.

— 3) Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, former § 10408, now § 10500(b)(6) (eff. Jan. 1, 2020): Suspension of the requirement in the Compromise and Release agreements (DWC-CA forms 10214(c)- (e)) for signatures from two witnesses. Signatures on the forms from all parties may be electronic.

— 4) Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, former § 10500, now § 10628 (eff. Jan. 1, 2020): Suspension of the requirement for service by the WCAB by mail. Service by the WCAB may be made electronically with or without parties’ consent.

On March 16, 2020, the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) issued Newsline Release No. 2020-18 providing in pertinent part that the DWC’s district offices are currently closed for filing from March 17 through April 3.6 (See Code Civ. Proc., § 12(a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, former §§ 10507, 10508, now §§ 10600, 10605 (eff. Jan. 1, 2020); Pa’u v. Department of Forestry, et al. (2019) (ADJ9159725, ADJ7757931, ADJ9640668). In accordance with this, all filing deadlines are extended to the next day when the district offices reopen for filing.