Cal/OSHA Recommends Ending Mask Rules For Workers If Every Person in the Room is Vaccinated
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously voted to recommend relaxing workplace safety rules for people vaccinated against COVID-19. The new rules are still subject to review by the state Office of Administrative Law, but it is expected the office will approve the rules, which can go into effect on June 15—the same day California is set to fully reopen its economy.
The rules would allow workers in a room to take off their masks if every person there is fully vaccinated and does not have COVID-19 symptoms. Masks would still be required if anyone in the room is not fully vaccinated. Under the rules, someone is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or the single shot of Johnson & Johnson. Workplaces would need to have workers’ vaccine records on file to comply with Cal/OSHA regulations. Workers in places such as retail stores and restaurants, as well as others who interact with members of the public, will still need to mask up. Workers in some other settings, such as hospitals, will not be affected by the rule change.
In addition, the rules also call for ending the requirement that workers be physically distant from other people starting July 31. Until then, employees in indoor settings or outdoor events of 10,000 or more people will need to continue physical-distancing practices or be offered respirators—like N95 masks—that filter out fine particles in the air.
These relaxed rules put forth by Cal/OSHA come less than two weeks before the state is set to widely relax its mask rules as part of its long-anticipated full reopening. Starting June 15, California will align with the CDC’s recent mask guidance. Local-level health officials still have the ability to impose stricter rules than the state’s, but many counties have indicated they plan to follow California’s lead come June 15.
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