A little over a year ago, Cal/OSHA adopted the first emergency temporary standards (“ETS”) to address COVID-19 cases in the workplace. Now, the second set of revisions will take effect on January 14, 2022 and are expected to expire April 14, 2022. While some of the proposed revisions signaled harsher requirements for employers, the final adoption of rules shouldn’t be too cumbersome for CA employers. Here’s a summary of key changes:

  • Fully vaccinated employees who have had a close contact with a COVID-19 case STILL do NOT need to be excluded from the workplace if they are asymptomatic. However, if they report to the workplace, they are now required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing for 14 days following the close contact.
  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated employees who have had a close contact with a COVID-19 case must still quarantine and be excluded from the workplace. However, instead of the previously required 10-day quarantine,  there’s the potential for a shorter quarantine.  Employers may permit a 7-day quarantine if the employee tests negative for COVID-19 on day 5 or after, and the employee adheres to the face covering and social distancing requirement until day 14.
  • Anyone with a close contact to a workplace COVID-19 case, whether vaccinated or not, must be offered free testing by an employer, subject to the limited exception of employees who had COVID-19 themselves within 90-days prior to the exposure. In the event of an “outbreak” under the ETS, vaccinated employees will also be offered free testing now.
  • The face covering requirement has gotten more stringent, with permitted face coverings limited to surgical masks, a medical procedure mask, a respirator worn voluntarily, or a tightly woven fabric or non-woven material of at least two layers that does not let light pass through when held up to a light source.
  • Remember, state and local laws are changing rapidly, with face coverings now required indoors throughout the state and testing requirements for certain events, so please contact a member of our L&E team for the latest restrictions.