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San Diegans to be required to don masks in the workplace

San Diegans to be required to don masks in the workplace
Posted at 4:37 PM, Dec 14, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Beginning Wednesday, workers will once again, regardless of vaccination status, have to wear a mask inside.

Amid concerns of the omicron variant and a post-Thanksgiving spike in Covid-19 cases, state officials are taking action.

“What the Department of Public Health is trying to do is stop the spread in the place where it’s most likely to occur, in the context of indoor gathering,” said employment attorney Dan Eaton.

Those gatherings include the workplace.

An OSHA spokesperson told ABC 10News, the state's indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, will extend to the workplace.

“What this means for the average worker is that the masks are coming back on,” said Eaton.

Beginning Wednesday and for the next month, workers will have to don a mask indoors, regardless the distance from other workers. Eaton believes there's no guarantee on how long the mandate will be in effect.

“Depending on how the virus evolves, it could be longer. We could be looking into the new year,” said Eaton.

Eaton points out the OSHA board plans to meet to discuss Covid protocols Thursday.

“They are going to issue a regulation that is at least as restrictive as what the California Department of Public Health has done,” said Eaton.

As for the mask mandate set to take effect, employers will be required to provide masks to employees. And it'll be up to employers to enforce the mandate.

“If the employers don’t follow the rules, then there could be serious fines … It will be enforced, not by the agency knocking on door. They are going to be enforced by motivated employees who are going to call and say the mask mandate is not being enforced in my workplace,” said Eaton.

OSHA says a violation of the protocols could mean fines ranging up to more than $13,000.

A ‘serious’ violation could range up to $25,000.