Cal/OSHA will require people to wear masks in workplaces past June 15
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Conflicted California workplace regulators approved controversial rules that allow workers to go maskless only if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
With all the other states lifting mask mandates, and the vaccine widely available, why isn’t California following the science?
But the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board made clear Thursday night that the regulations are only a stopgap while they consider further easing pandemic rules in coming weeks or months.
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.”
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.
Major California businesses expressed frustration Thursday with proposed rules by state workplace regulators that would only allow workers to go maskless if everyone in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
That contrasts with the state’s plan to fully reopen in less than two weeks and do away with virtually all mask and social distancing requirements for vaccinated people.
Critics question why California officials aren’t following the science, as they continually claim to do.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, who established the state reopening date of June 15, was noncommittal about what he would do if the idea is adopted when asked before the vote. Newsom has the power to override it with an executive order.