Photo via the U.S. Air Force

published on June 10, 2021 - 2:43 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The state may be opening up on Tuesday, but the mask requirements aren’t running away just yet. 

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board — Cal/OSHA — issued a rule last week that would have allowed fully-vaccinated workers to go maskless only if all other employees were also fully-vaccinated. The guidance would have gone into effect June 15, but  the board backpedaled its decision yesterday after a special meeting with California Department of Public Health, which also included public comment. 

Businesses urged Cal/OSHA to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which allows vaccinated individuals to go maskless in most indoor and outdoor settings.

The previous guidance from Cal/OSHA, enacted in November 2020, has been requiring masks for all employees. Its Standards Board voted unanimously to withdraw the revisions that were approved on June 3, but not yet effective. Cal/OSHA will review the new mask guidance and bring any recommended revisions to the board, it said in a statement yesterday. Revisions could come as early as June 17, but the original November masking requirements remain in effect.

State Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón said that next week the state will end most masking rules for people who are vaccinated, while continuing to require face coverings for unvaccinated people in indoor public settings and businesses.

The state guidance falls in line with the CDC guidelines.

However, even after reopening the state on Tuesday, masks are still required on public transit, health care facilities, prisons and homeless shelters, regardless of vaccination status. For major indoor events, vaccination status or negative Covid-19 test is required for entry. For outdoor events, these criteria are strongly suggested but not required. Masks will still be required in indoor classrooms through 12th grade and childcare facilities.

Businesses are allowed to decide how they wish to operate within the state and CDC guidelines. If businesses allow customers to go maskless, they will operate under “good faith” that their maskless customers are vaccinated. 

Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, announced the mask guidance in a  special meeting that addressed the conflicting guidelines between state and Cal/OSHA masking guidance. 

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