OAKLAND, Calif (KTVU/KTTV) - Shortly after rejecting new proposed rules that would require all workers to wear masks if one person at the business is unvaccinated, workplace regulators pulled a complete 180-degree pivot Thursday night, giving the proposal the green light.
Prior to the proposal being shot down and then approved, the new rules allow workers to go maskless only if every employee onsite is fully vaccinated. Similar rules would apply to outdoor worksites.
Furthermore, the proposed guidelines would required businesses to stockpile N-95 masks to give to the workers.
The board initially voted 4-to-3 to reject any changes to current rules.
But chairman David Thomas said that would have left employers with the current rules, which require masks for all employees, along with social distancing and partitions between employees in certain circumstances.
Moments later, the seven-member board unanimously adopted the revised regulations while a three-member subcommittee considers more changes.
"It’s better than the previous one, because that’s what we’re going back to" if the board didn’t act, Thomas said. "We don’t want to leave the last one in place when this is better than that," Thomas said.
The off-again, on-again decisions came after major business groups and dozens of individuals spent hours urging the board to further lift pandemic regulations.
Members who initially rejected the revision said they are concerned that it doesn’t go far enough or that it requires employers to stockpile the most effective N95 facemasks for employees who want them starting July 1.
The latest development comes as California is closing in on the June 15 complete reopening of the state's economy. A little less than two weeks from now, physical distancing and mask requirements will no longer apply for those fully vaccinated in California.
Stay with FOX 11 as we will provide the latest on this developing story for our 10 p.m. newscast.