(source: dir.ca.gov)

Breonna Reeves |

California officially reopened on June 15, eliminating some COVID-19 safety requirements for fully vaccinated people. Following the state’s reopening, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to update the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that solidified revisions to the COVID-19 Protection Emergency Standards originally put in place by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/ OSHA).

Effective June 18, new emergency standards eliminate social distancing requirements and provide new guidelines on face coverings. Other changes to the temporary standards include:

  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to be tested or excluded from work after close contact unless they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Employees are not required to wear face coverings outdoors regardless of their vaccination status with some exceptions.
  • Employees are allowed to wear face coverings without fear of retaliation from employers.
  • Employers must provide effective training and instruction to employees on how COVID is spread, contracted and prevention techniques.

Cal/OSHA standards also require documentation for fully vaccinated employees who chose not to wear face coverings indoors. Employers must record the vaccination status for any employee who is not wearing a face covering indoors and this status must remain confidential, according to the updated standards.

While Cal/OSHA has lifted some requirements, others are still in place such as requiring face masks in certain settings despite vaccination status.

According to the guidelines, “Face coverings are required indoors and in vehicles for unvaccinated employees. 

As of June 15, those indoor settings where CDPH requires face coverings include public transit, K-12 educational facilities, health care and long-term care settings, correctional and detention facilities and shelters (homeless or emergency shelters and cooling centers).”

Retail stores such as Target and Trader Joe’s no longer require guests to wear masks or social distance regardless of vaccination status.

“Given the CDC’s updated guidance last week, Target will no longer require fully vaccinated guests and team members to wear face coverings in our stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances. Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores,” according to a press release issued by Target Corporate on May 17.

The Emergency Temporary Standards have also provided guidelines to follow in the event an outbreak occurs in the workplace. Employers must implement protective requirements if an outbreak occurs and require physical distancing and barriers to be put in place if a “major outbreak” occurs. A major outbreak is outlined as 20 or more employees in an exposed group.

For the full list of the updated COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, visit the website for the California Department of Industrial Relations.

Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside, California, and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that affect the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America Corps member. Previously, Breanna reported on activism and social inequality in San Francisco and Los Angeles, her hometown. Breanna graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Print & Online Journalism. She received her master’s degree in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics. Contact Breanna with tips, comments or concerns at breanna@voicemediaventures.com or via twitter @_breereeves.