SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Nearly one week after California reopened its economy, there's another positive milestone in the South Bay.
With a smile on her maskless face, Santa Clara County Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody delivered the good news.
"In light of the very high vaccination rates in our county and the low and stable rates of COVID, we are phasing out the last local health order that we've had here in Santa Clara County," Dr. Cody said.
With new Cal/OSHA regulations that went in place last Friday, the county believes their final health order issued on May 18 does not need to be in place.
The newly revised guidelines now align with the California Department of Public Health, which ended most mask rules for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Here are the masking guidelines for workplaces under the new rules:
- Vaccinated employees are not required to wear masks while indoors, except for the places where California still requires masks to be worn by all people.
- Unvaccinated employees must still wear face masks in indoor settings.
- Face masks are not required for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers while outdoors.
Under the new Cal/OSHA regulations, an employee is considered "fully vaccinated" if the employer has documentation reflecting that the employee completed their vaccination series in at least 14 days.
Businesses that have already followed in this documentation procedure from the May 18 order now have a head start.
"We're very pleased that the May 18 order now enables businesses and entities here in Santa Clara County to immediately and legally implement the Cal/OSHA rules safely because they will have that documentation of vaccination status," Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams said.
Many businesses in Santana Row are welcoming the news.
"For all the small businesses in the area, and in California in general, it has been a real struggle," Makers Market Assistant Manager Danielle Chopin said. "It's nice seeing people walking outside, having lunch, socializing and even coming into the stores has been great."
Santa Clara County now has the nation's highest vaccination rate among large counties with 80% of residents ages 12 and older receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
The same county that had some of the most-strict COVID-19 guidelines and highest case numbers, is now a place Dr. Cody calls "safe."
"We're glad that we live in this county," Resident Tony Villa said. "We're very lucky, I guess. It's very exciting to be able to get out and go wherever you want now."
"I think our whole region is one of the safest places in the U.S. at this point, so that's very good news," Dr. Cody said.
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