With California set to lift nearly all masking and social distancing requirements on June 15, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Cal/OSHA”) has placed the burden on employers with unvaccinated workers to continue to have them masked. On Thursday June 3, Cal/OSHA approved a rule (effective June 15th) that allows workers to go maskless only if everyone in the room is fully vaccinated. Cal/OSHA approved this rule as an interim measure while a subcommittee considers further easing of pandemic restrictions over the coming weeks and months. There is no deadline by which new rules must be published, so employees must continue to mask up if any of their coworkers are unvaccinated for the foreseeable future.
Employers must enforce this masking requirement or risk citations and/or monetary sanctions from Cal/OSHA. Due to the difficulty in tracking vaccination status and monitoring gatherings, some employers may find it administratively easier to continue enforcing masks for all California employees, and those workers traveling to California on business, regardless of their individual vaccination status. Employers should also refresh their COVID19 policies as CDC and state and local guidance continues to evolve.