New mandatory COVID-19 prevention protocols are coming from Cal/OSHA, but not quite as soon as expected. The vote to adopt revised regulations governing COVID-19 protocols in California workplaces has been postponed until an emergency meeting of the Cal/OSHA Standards Board set for June 3, 2021. The revised regulations to be considered at that time have not been made public but will take into account recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning fully vaccinated persons.
The Board was originally scheduled to vote on an amended version of COVID-19 regulations at their May 20 meeting. However, one week earlier, on May 13, the CDC released guidance permitting those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 new freedom from mask-wearing, physical distancing and travel guidance. With the CDC’s announcement, the Board and Cal/OSHA staff abruptly found their draft revised regulations on the table at the time to be contrary to the new CDC guidance in important respects. Cal/OSHA staff obtained the delay in the Board considering any revised regulations until staff rework the draft regulations to better fall in line with the new CDC guidance.
If the Board adopts a new version of COVID-19 workplace protocols on June 3, as expected, the regulations will likely become effective by June 15, coinciding with California Governor Gavin Newsom’s loosening of pandemic-related social restrictions throughout the state.
Whatever the details of the amended regulations adopted on June 3, the regulations will continue to impose weighty obligations on employer operations in California. The amended regulations will continue in force notwithstanding Governor Newsom’s termination on June 15 of the state’s color-coded tier system of COVID-19 social restrictions.
We will update you as Cal/OSHA takes action.
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