The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) on Friday released revised COVID-19 workplace recommendations, which are expected to go into effect no later than June 15 if approved.
“Last year, the board adopted health and safety standards to protect workers from COVID-19,” the California Department of Industrial Relations said in a statement. “The standards did not consider vaccinations and required testing, quarantining, masking and more to protect workers.”
The changes to the recommendations phase out physical distancing and make other adjustments to better align with the state’s goal of eliminating the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system on June 15, according to the Department of Industrial Relations.
With the new recommendations, fully vaccinated workers who do not show any COVID-19 symptoms do not need to wear a face covering in rooms where everyone else is fully vaccinated and not showing symptoms.
Both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated workers will not need to wear face coverings outdoors except when working at “outdoor mega-events” that have more than 10,000 attendees, according to the revised recommendations.
When the new standards go into effect, employers can eliminate physical distancing and barriers for employees working indoors and at outdoor mega-events if they provide respirators, such as N95 masks, to unvaccinated employees for voluntary use.
After July 31, physical distancing and barriers will no longer be required, except during outbreaks, but employers must provide all unvaccinated employees with N95 masks for voluntary use, according to the recommendations.
Employers still will be required to maintain a written COVID-19 prevention program; however, now they must review the California Department of Public Health’s interim guidance for ventilation, filtration and air quality of indoor environments. COVID-19 prevention training now must include information about vaccine effectiveness and how vaccines protect against both transmission and serious illness or death, the recommendations state.
Fully vaccinated workers who do not show any virus symptoms will no longer need to be excluded from the workplace after a close contact with someone who has COVID-19, shows symptoms of COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19.
Special virus prevention measures that apply to employer-provided housing and transportation will no longer apply if all occupants are fully vaccinated, according to the recommendations.
These recommendations may be further refined in the coming weeks to take into account any changes in circumstances, according to the Department of Industrial Relations.
Daily COVID-19 Numbers
The county’s cumulative COVID-19 death toll remained at 451.
There were 38 new cases reported during the past week, averaging slightly more than five new cases per day, according to data tracking done by Noozhawk. That is a one-third decrease from the week prior, when the county reported an average of a little more than eight new cases per day.
COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by one on Friday, when there were 10 patients being treated for the virus in local hospitals, with two being treated in intensive-care units.
Of the new cases reported Friday, eight were from the Santa Maria Valley, one was from the Santa Ynez Valley, one was from Goleta and one was from Santa Barbara. There were two cases still pending geographic location.
There are 34 cases still considered to be infectious throughout the county, and there have been 34,526 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.
As of Thursday, 52.6% of eligible county residents (those age 12 or older) were fully vaccinated against the virus, and 44.5% of the county’s total population was fully vaccinated, according to the county’s Community Data Dashboard.