California Maintains Strict Compliance with Masking and Physical Distancing Emergency Temporary Standards Requirements
- By: Gretchen Dugan
In a surprise decision by Cal/OSHA’s Standards Board late on June 9, 2021, they withdrew revisions to their COVID-19 prevention emergency temporary standards which were expected to have taken effect on June 15, 2021.
California employers are looking to Cal/OSHA to guide the state’s reopening and minimize the impacts on employer obligations. The revisions were an attempt to bring workplace requirements for social distancing and face masks closer to the Federal reopening standards. However, with this newest announcement that Cal/OSHA is withdrawing its amendments to emergency temporary standards, California employers must still continue to comply with the original emergency temporary standards issue in November of 2020.
What does this mean for employers? Well, the bottom line is this, even though California is “reopening” on June 15, 2021, employers will have no relief from the current obligations to comply with masking and physical distancing requirements.
Keep in mind however, the amended emergency temporary standards that were being considered, would have included respirators, physical distancing, face coverings, testing, and exclusion from the workplace for non-vaccinated employees. Sticking with the devil we know may in fact have been the wisest choice at this juncture, and we will continue to monitor Cal/OSHA’s progress on revising the emergency temporary standards and update when we know more.