Cal/OSHA Delays Vote On Dropping Mask, Physical Distancing Guidelines For Workplaces

Cal/OSHA has decided to put off voting on dropping mask and physical distancing rules for fully vaccinated people in the workplace.

Video Transcript

- Kristine?

KRISTINE LAZAR: Juan and Susie, we thought that we would have new guidelines from Cal/OSHA today. But instead, Cal/OSHA decided to push back a vote on their proposal so it could more closely align with the state's full reopening plan on June 15.

Cal/OSHA was set to vote on looser COVID restrictions for businesses today, but that didn't happen. What did happen was a lengthy public comment session. Some employers and industry groups expressed support for relaxed regulations. Others raised concerns and wondered how to follow the CDC'S guidance that only vaccinated people don't need to wear masks.

HELEN CLEARY: It's true that employees may decide to share their vaccination status. However, that's a personal decision to be made by each individual.

KRISTINE LAZAR: And workers worried would they still be safe?

EDDIE SANCHEZ: Every day, we hear firsthand from workers about their fears of going to work, getting the virus, and bringing it home to their families. We know that COVID cases are currently low, but changing the standard now could put many workers knowingly in danger.

MAGGIE ROBBINS: And we think this is going to lead to basically open season in the workplace for all controls to be relaxed.

KRISTINE LAZAR: Earlier this month, Cal/OSHA drafted its proposal to relax COVID regulations in the workplace. That proposal says if all workers in a room are fully vaccinated and symptom free, they can remove their masks. That applies to outdoors too. It also requires employers to provide unvaccinated workers within N95 masks, and employers would have to provide COVID testing to those with symptoms on paid time. The board has now decided it will modify those standards to start earlier on June 15, when the state is set to fully reopen. LA County Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer has said the county will follow California's lead.

BARBARA FERRER: We are prepared to fully align with the state on the reopening on June 15, and we're working together with the state to make sure that we're well-prepared.

KRISTINE LAZAR: Now, also today, several employers expressed concern to Cal/OSHA about being required to provide N95 masks to unvaccinated workers. They say if they're required to do so, we could have another PPE shortage. Cal/OSHA will vote on these new requirements on June 3. Live in Porter Ranch, I'm Kristine Lazar. Back to you in the studio.

- Kristine, thank you. A tip has lead--