No masks at work? California proposal says employees don’t have to, if everyone is vaccinated


If everyone in the room at your workplace is vaccinated, you don’t have to wear face coverings and you can skip socially distancing after July 31, according to revised state guidelines to be voted on Thursday.

Those are some of the takeaways as California workplace safety regulators have updated the rules on what companies must do to protect employees from the coronavirus at work.

The draft rules, issued Friday, come after the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health — or Cal/OSHA — Standards Board issued sweeping changes around masking, social distancing, testing and notification of workers potentially exposed to the virus at work late last year, bringing them in line with rules for protecting health care workers from airborne diseases.

“If everyone’s vaccinated, it will feel more normal” at most workplaces, said Elena Hillman, a senior counsel at Cozen O’Connor in San Francisco.

Both she and Michele Ballard Miller, chair of the West Coast labor & employment practice at Cozen O’Connor, said that the proposal’s language was confusing, meaning that many employers may need help to ensure they comply with the rules.


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