California Likely to Eliminate Mandatory Workplace Mask Policy for Vaccinated Employees
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal-OSHA) proposed revising its Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for responding to COVID-19. These standards will remove the face mask and physical distancing rules for employees who are fully vaccinated.
These rules, which are essentially in line with current standards maintained by the CDC, will be voted on by Cal-OSHA on June 17, 2021. If approved, these rules would typically go into effect on June 28, but California Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to sign a same-day executive order that would allow the rules to go into effect the same day.
If the rules go into effect, they would require employers to document any employee’s full vaccination status, but there are no rules about how this should be done. At a minimum, employers should require employees claiming to be fully vaccinated to attest as such and record it. Additionally, this documented information should be kept confidential.
The new ETS rules for COVID-19 would maintain and, in some cases, expand upon the rules for posting of policies, training standards, and regulations for the handling of exposure. They will not prohibit counties from potentially passing more restrictive laws as well.