Fully Vaccinated California Workers Can Now Go Maskless

Bernard Mendez
Bernard Mendez is an editorial intern at dot.LA. He attends UCLA, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics. Mendez was previously an editor at the Daily Bruin, the student newspaper at UCLA.
Fully Vaccinated California Workers Can Now Go Maskless
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Fully vaccinated workers no longer have to wear masks or keep a six-foot distance from colleagues in the workplace.

The new guidelines set on Thursday by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health normally take at least 10 days to take effect after an administrative review process, but Gov. Gavin Newsom fast-tracked them by signing an executive order that lifts many of the workplace restrictions for vaccinated individuals.

Its approval came two days after the governor repealed statewide indoor and outdoor mask restrictions for Californians.

The sole board member to vote against the ruling said she was concerned that the guidelines loosened restrictions too far and too soon.

"No matter how tired we are of restrictions, the pandemic is not over," said Laura Stock, the board member who voted against the changes.

The new guidelines allows everyone from hairdressers to construction to return to a pre-pandemic normality, though some businesses have been loath to drop the masks.

Here's the new rules:

  • Fully vaccinated employees will no longer be required to wear masks indoors, while workers who haven't been fully vaccinated will still have to wear masks indoors.
  • Workplaces will not have to enforce social distancing or place solid barriers between employees who work near others unless a COVID-19 outbreak occurs.
  • Employers will be required to provide N95 respirators for unvaccinated workers upon request.
  • Employees do not need to provide their vaccination cards to validate their vaccination status — employees can self-attest that they are fully vaccinated.

David Harrison, a labor representative on the board who voted for the change, expressed concern over the lack of a standard to verify worker vaccinations.

Several tech companies have told dot.LA they plan to make returning to the office a gradual or hybrid process.

This story has been updated to reflect Cal/OSHA's changes in workplace guidelines.

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