The order allows for two weeks of additional leave for all workers who have contracted, been exposed to someone who has tested positive, or are otherwise ordered to quarantine and isolate, Newsom announced.
"I think about the people that grow our food, pick our food people, pack our food, deliver our food, cook, serve and sell our food. That's the food chain in the state of California. That sector by definition is essential."
Newsom said he hoped the executive order would encourage workers to stay home if they feel sick, and know they'd be compensated for that time. The order effectively fills a gap left by the federal stimulus package that provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with less than 500 workers.
"We don't want you going to work sick," he added, addressing workers in grocery, food delivery services, fast food chains and agricultural workers who will benefit from the order.
Coronavirus: Gov. Newsom unveils 6-part plan for easing California's statewide stay-at-home order amid pandemic
"I heard a few grocery store workers say this: 'We're called essential workers, but increasingly we feel like we're disposable.' I want you to know, you're not disposable. You're essential and you're valued," Newsom said.
Newsom's executive order also increases protections at food facilities, by allowing workers to wash their hands every half hour, or as needed.
The announcement comes a few days after the governor detailed a plan for modifying California's statewide coronavirus restrictions and just one day after he announced $125 million in disaster relief assistance for working Californians that will provide financial support to undocumented immigrants impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.