Mask-free at work? New California proposal says yes, if everyone is vaccinated

Luz Pena Image
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Mask-free at work? CA proposal says yes but there's a catch
On Friday Cal/OSHA's standards board released a draft of the workplace rules giving us more insight as to what going to the office could look like.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Cal/OSHA's standards board released a draft of workplace rules on Friday giving more insight as to what the future workplace could look like.

Under these proposed guidelines employees who are fully vaccinated won't need to wear their facemask in a room where everyone else is vaccinated. Employers would need to provide N-95 masks for employees who are not fully vaccinated. Heath Flora, Assembly member and Vice Chair of the States Committee on Labor and Employment, disagrees with the second aspect of that proposal.

RELATED: Newsom unveils $116.5M COVID vaccine incentive plan ahead of state's June 15 reopening

"If the state is going to mandate these types of regulations like the N-95 mask then there needs to be some sort of funding to that," said Assemblymen Flora.

Luz Pena: "Are you concerned these guidelines are going to push some business out of California?

Assemblymen Flora: "100 % yeah. There is absolutely no doubt that some of the continued regulations and the guidelines that are enforced on the California business some will move out."

Under Cal/Osha's proposal, social distancing continues unless employees are fully vaccinated or getting tested for the virus at least once a week. Companies need to pay for the testing.

RELATED: California to remove all capacity limits, physical distancing requirements starting June 15

Santa Clara County is getting ahead of the state. They are giving employers until June 1 to document the vaccination status of all their employers before they return to the office.

"Enough time is provided to implement these orders. There is a good amount of concern about whether or not Tuesday is enough time to really figure what was just issued in a way that they can be compliant," said CEO of The Silicon Valley Organization Derrick Seaver.

Seaver says at least 300 members were concerned about the change in Santa Clara's health guidelines where employers have to keep track of vaccination status.

RELATED: How can I register for a COVID-19 vaccine in California? Here's how it works in every Bay Area county

With over 40% of California fully vaccinated and 18 days from reopening the economy will the state follow Santa Clara's example and also require for employers to keep track of vaccination records?

"No, we are not moving in that direction and I wouldn't support that," said Assemblymen Flora.

Cal/OSHA's standards board is set to vote on their workplace safety guidelines proposal on Thursday.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.