Vaccinated Workers in CA No Longer Required to Wear a Mask at Work

On June 17, 2021, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved revised workplace pandemic rules, allowing fully vaccinated employees throughout the state to work without a mask, so long as they document their vaccination status. Shortly following the vote, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order, so the new rules took effect at 12:01 am, instead of after a 10-day legal review generally required to implement workplace safety changes. 

The rules apply in nearly every workplace across California, from offices and stores to factories. Vaccinated workers must still wear masks in classrooms and mass transit settings. The guidelines are consistent with the latest federal recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

According to the new rules, unvaccinated employees must continue to wear masks indoors as they have been required during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, the state will not require vaccinated workers to get tested for the coronavirus or quarantine if they are asymptomatic. 

Employers need to still document their standards for virus prevention and provide unvaccinated employees with N95 masks upon request and inspect their workplace’s ventilation system to ensure adequate airflow. Previously, all workers—whether they are vaccinated or not—were required to wear a mask or face covering indoors and outdoors. 

On June 3, the Cal/OSHA board considered approving updated rules that would have enabled fully vaccinated workers to no longer wear masks only in rooms where all employees are also fully vaccinated. However, those rules faced immediate backlash since they did not align with updated federal guidelines that lifted the mask mandate in most settings for vaccinated individuals. 

The board then voted against the revised rules in a special meeting on June 9. More than 70 percent of adults throughout California have received at least one vaccine dose, according to state vaccination records. 

If you are dealing with an employment law issue in California, contact Polaris Law Group today at (888) 796-4010 for more information about our experienced legal services. Serving clients in Redding, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Oakland, San Francisco, the Bay Area, Stockton & Modesto, Pleasanton, Redwood City, San Jose, the Silicon Valley, Hollister, Salinas, Fresno, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Santa Clarita, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, and San Diego. 

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