COVID Reopening: Cal/OSHA Withdraws Controversial Work Mask Rules

California’s workplace regulators have withdrawn a controversial pending mask regulation while they consider a rule that more closely aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s promise that the state will fully reopen from the pandemic on Tuesday. Justin Andrews reports.

Video Transcript

JUSTIN ANDREWS: I'm Justin Andrews live in downtown San Francisco this morning. Major changes coming to the mask requirements when you enter the office next week. It came after a fierce Cal/OSHA meeting on last night. This comes when many business owners called into that meeting. It was a heated meeting. It also had hours of public comment. They were saying that they wanted Cal/OSHA to align with the California Department of Health guidelines where masks will no longer be required starting June 15.

In the end, the board overwhelmingly voted to withdraw those initial masking rules. There are exceptions though. When you take public transportation, whether that's on a bus or a plane. Also at all K-12 schools, health care settings, and homeless, or emergency centers. While some speakers disputed the effectiveness of masks and vaccines during the meeting, medical experts say science shows those who have been vaccinated should feel at ease when the mask restrictions are lifted.

GEORGE RUTHERFORD: They've been more conservative and basically said unless everybody's vaccinated in a worksite, everybody has to wear masks. And I think that's probably overly restrictive.

JUSTIN ANDREWS: Now the doctor you just heard from there said Cal/OSHA's decision last night was indeed the right one. We're live in downtown San Francisco this morning. I'm Justin Andrews. KPIX 5.