Hate Your Coworker: New June 15 California Covid Regulations Turn Workers Against Each Other
If one worker is unvaccinated, everyone has to wear a mask, but hey, I thought the vaccine was supposed to be effective
June 9, 2021
While the number of Covid-19 cases in Los Angeles County have continued to remain the lowest since the start of the pandemic, with a test positivity rate today of 0.4%, officials are clearly hesitant to relax the restrictions they have placed on the public in the name of public health. However, with obvious reluctance, new guidelines were publicized today the county's Department of Public Health to align with updated requirements of California's Divison of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).
Subject to ratification by the Office of Administrative Law, the new standards starting June 15 will allow workers to remove their masks in rooms where everyone is fully vaccinated. In a move obviously calculated to pressure unvaccinated individuals, masks will have to be worn by everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, if any workers in the room have not yet been vaccinated. So the trigger for mask requirement is that one worker who balked at taking a non-FDA-approved vaccine.
Masks will still be required by all at crowded outdoor events.
Vaccinated workers will not have to quarantine at home in the unlikely event they come in contact with someone who's contracted Covid-19. At present, there are fewer than 250 new cases a day in a county of 10 million people.
The revised standards as of June 15 will be as follows:
• Face Coverings: Fully vaccinated workers without COVID-19 symptoms do not need to wear face coverings in a room where everyone else is fully vaccinated and not showing symptoms. In rooms where everyone is not vaccinated, face coverings continue to be required for everyone regardless of vaccination status. Both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated workers without symptoms do not need to wear face coverings outdoors except when working at "outdoor mega events" with over 10,000 attendees, which may include events or theme parks.
• Physical Distancing: When the revised standards take effect, employers can eliminate physical distancing and partitions/barriers for employees working indoors and at outdoor mega events if an employer provides respirators, such as N95s, to unvaccinated employees for voluntary use. After July 31, physical distancing and barriers are no longer required (except during outbreaks) provided all unvaccinated employees are offered respirators for voluntary use.
• Exclusion from the Workplace: Fully vaccinated workers who do not have COVID-19 symptoms no longer need to be excluded from the workplace after a close contact.
• Special Protections for Housing and Transportation: Special COVID-19 prevention measures that apply to employer-provided housing and transportation no longer apply if all occupants are fully vaccinated.
Employers will still be required to maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Program with the following changes:
• Employers must review the California Department of Public Health's Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
• COVID-19 prevention training must now include information on how the vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19 and protecting against both transmission and serious illness or death.