12.18.2021 | COVID-19

New COVID-19 Rules from Cal/OSHA and CDPH

COVID-19 Client Alerts:

New COVID-19 Rules from Cal/OSHA and CDPH

Effective December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022, the California Department of Public Health has ordered that people must wear masks in all indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. This includes all workplaces. There are limited health and safety exceptions.

In addition, Cal/OSHA adopted revisions to its COVID-19 standard, which will be effective on January 14, 2022 and govern most California employers. We highly recommend that you read the revised standard in its entirety. You can also refer to the Cal/OSHA Fact Sheet on the revised standard.

Key revisions include:

  • The definition of a fabric mask now requires that the mask be two layers of fabric that will not allow light to pass through when held up to a light source.
  • Employees who cannot wear a mask or alternative face covering due to a medical condition or disability must be either i) fully vaccinated or ii) tested weekly. The testing must be during paid time and at no cost to the employee.
  • Employers must make testing available to vaccinated and unvaccinated employees who were a “close contact” of a COVID-19 case, during paid time and at no cost, with the limited exception of employees recently recovered from COVID-19. (The previous rule required this only for unvaccinated employees.)
  • Employees i) who are fully-vaccinated or recently recovered from COVID-19; ii) who are a “close contact” with a COVID-19 case; and iii) who remain symptom-free do not need to be excluded from the workplace so long as they wear a mask and maintain six feet of distance from others for 14 days after the “close contact.”
  • Return to work criteria for employees who were a “close contact” of a COVID-19 case but who never developed symptoms now permit return to work after less than 14 days under certain conditions.

Certain employers, such as those covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard and those in health care, are subject to other specific standards.


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