Cal-OSHA to extend mask wearing guidelines in workplace settings

As people start returning to work again, many are wondering if they can ditch the face masks for good. 

June 15 is the date the California economy is set to reopen; physical distancing and the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people will be lifted. But that isn’t the case in most workplaces. 

Cal-OSHA says some health rules will remain in place for a while. Cal-OSHA is expected to present their new health guidelines to the Standards Board on Thursday, where they are expected to be approved.  

On the one hand, the agency extends 6-foot distancing and mask wearing inside workplaces through at least July 31st. But, it does allow employees who have been vaccinated, and show no COVID-19 symptoms, to be in the same room without a mask.

RELATED: California aims to fully reopen its economy on June 15, Gov. Newsom says

Of course that means that companies are now much more likely to enforce vaccination requirements on their employees. It also means they can not only require to see your vaccination card, but in some instances, keep a copy of it for their records. 

Although, the vaccine card, like everything else having to do with an employee’s health records has to be closely guarded under HIPAA rules.  An employee can show medical proof that they can’t get vaccines for medical reason, or claim religious beliefs. But the company has the chance to come up with alternatives, like working in a private office.

RELATED: Masks in California: Vaccinated residents must wait until June 15 to be mask free

The other major change, in terms of labor guidelines and pandemic practices has to do with Workmen’s Comp. According to attorneys specializing in labor law arbitration, like Angela Reddock-Wright with Reddock Law, if an employee contracts the virus it can be presumed that they caught it at work and workmen’s comp kicks in. The company is then responsible for the care of that employee. So, you can probably expect companies to be a lot more likely to enforce mask wearing, even vaccinations, in the near future.

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The Standards Board is expected to approve the guidelines soon. They then go on to a review that takes no more than 10 days and they will remain in place until at least July 31st.

Click here to view the Cal-OSHA guidelines.