Revised COVID-19 Regulations Take Immediate Effect
After a period of uncertainty and public backlash, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA’s) Board finally adopted revisions to the COVID-19 regulations on June 17, 2021.
The revised regulations will take immediate effect (once filed with the State), pursuant to an executive order signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The regulations provide some clarity and guidance to California employers.
Here are some key take away points:
- With some exceptions, employers may allow fully vaccinated employees not to wear face coverings indoors. Employers must document employees’ vaccination status, which also include employee self-attestation. There are some situations in which face coverings are still required pursuant to the State of California Department of Public Health (CDPH), regardless of vaccination status. These include future outbreaks, healthcare settings, K-12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities. Employers should retain confidential records documenting employees’ vaccination status.
- Unvaccinated employees must wear face coverings indoors or while in vehicles. Employers must provide unvaccinated employees a respirator (i.e., N95 mask), free of charge, upon request.
- Fully vaccinated employees without symptoms do not need to be tested/excluded from work even if they had close contact with a COVID-19 case (unless they have symptoms).
- Employees who are not fully vaccinated and exhibit COVID-19 symptoms must be offered testing by their employer.
- Employers no longer need to impose physical distancing or barrier requirements regardless of employee vaccination status (subject to exceptions, such as during outbreaks). Employers may however, implement more restrictive measures.
- Employers must evaluate ventilation systems to maximize outdoor air and increase filtration efficiency – and evaluate the use of additional air cleaning systems.
- No face coverings are required outdoors (subject to exceptions, such as during outbreaks), regardless of vaccination status.
Employers are still required to have a written COVID-19 prevention plan. Cal/OSHA indicated it will be updating its model plan, which will include training employees about respirators and how to properly use them, as well as the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing COVID-19.
Employers may review the latest information on the revised regulations here and are encouraged to review the full regulations to confirm workplace compliance.
Sue M. Bendavid and Tal Burnovski Yeyni are attorneys in our Employment Practice Group.
This information provides an overview of a specific developing situation. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact or situation.