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Cal/OSHA withdraws revisions to workplace mask rules adopted last week

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 19:41:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- Members of Cal/OSHA's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Standards Board) decided to withdraw the workplace face mask revisions they approved on June 3.

Those rules would have required fully vaccinated employees to continue wearing face coverings unless everyone around them was immunized as well.

For now, employees will keep following the original guidance put in place in November 2020. This means everyone working will be required to wear a face mask until the board considers new changes at its next meeting, as early as June 17.

"It's been confusing; it's been a nightmare. I don't think they were prepared," said Todd Walters, president of UFCW Local 135, a union that represents thousands of workers from different business sectors across San Diego County. "June 17, we're going to find out what's really going to happen."

Walters is hoping Cal/OSHA's new guidance will give employees the right to choose whether they want to wear a mask or not.

"The governor has said come June 15 he will lift the mask mandate and any business restrictions that are out there because of covid, but because of Cal/OSHA, the workers and the employers still have to follow these stringent rules," he said, "I'm really concerned that if they make unvaccinated only wear a mask, that we're going to drum up this big political drama again."

Cal/OSHA is expected to adopt rules to better align with the state and CDC's guidance on facial coverings.

Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health released new guidance saying starting June 15, California's full reopening date, fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks unless:

  • On public transit
  • Inside of K-12 schools or other childcare/youth settings
  • Healthcare settings
  • Correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers

Masks will still be required for unvaccinated people in indoor public settings — like grocery stores, restaurants, and theaters.

And for now, workers can expect to keep wearing their masks until Cal/OSHA's new guidelines go into effect, which is likely by the end of the month.