California Likely to Lift Mask Rules for Vaccinated Workers

The proposal also would end the plastic partition requirement to separate cashiers, customers.

June 16, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A California safety board is expected to approve a measure that would drop the mask rules for vaccinated employees and also stop social distancing mandates for all workers, the Los Angeles Times reports. The proposal, which will be voted on tomorrow, would remove the regulation to have cleanable solid partitions to lower viral transmission via the air, such as the barriers between customers and cashiers.

The measure also would encourage businesses to increase the amount of outside air entering the building. Workplaces would have to give those not fully vaccinated masks to wear indoors or in vehicles, including ones with respirators upon request.

This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he would sign an executive order making the safety board’s proposal effective immediately upon approval rather than waiting the 10-plus days for the state Office of Administrative Law’s review. The workplace rules mirror those that went into effect this week, including allowing fully vaccinated residents to enter indoor buildings maskless unless asked by the business or venue to wear one.

Other relaxed rules already in effect include ditching the color-coded tier system for businesses, which restricted capacity in line with COVID-19 cases. The measure from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, (Cal/OSHA) is less restrictive than one approved earlier in June that had been rescinded by OSHA. The new proposal would not apply to work sites like health-care settings, which have more stringent standards.

OSHA last week released updated guidance for non-health-care settings, which apply to the convenience retailing industry and other businesses. NACS encourages convenience retailers to review the full set of guidance recommendations and implement those that they feel make the most sense in an effort to continue to keep their customers and employees safe and healthy.

In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance that fully vaccinated people could safely go mask-less in most indoor and outdoor settings. The exceptions include health-care facilities, public transportation and places where localities still require masks.

Coronavirus Resources
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis, including information about how to educate employees about the vaccines and other vaccine-related human resources advice. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.