Masks on or masks off???

Governor Newsom ended California’s stay-at-home order effective June 15, bringing an end to capacity limits and physical distancing requirements for businesses and allowing fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most places. 

As of June 15, if you are fully vaccinated (both doses of the vaccine and at least 14 days after the final dose), you have no obligation to wear face masks except,

(1) on public transit and in public transit stations;

(2) in K-12 schools, childcare, and youth facilities;

(3) in health care facilities including long-term care and nursing homes;

(4) in correctional and detention centers; and

(5) in homeless shelters and similar facilities. 

But what about your workplace?

As of June 18, the Governor conformed private-sector workplace CalOSHA standards to California’s general non-work standards – mostly:

The law no longer requires face coverings for fully vaccinated employees (see definition above) and no longer requires social distancing for anyone unless there’s a COVID-19 “outbreak,”  which means three or more cases in an exposed group of employees, or a “major outbreak”— 20 or more cases in an exposed group of employees.

For unvaccinated employees, face coverings are required by law indoors and in vehicles.

How does your employer know whether you’re vaccinated? Employers may (not “shall”) allow fully vaccinated employees not to wear face coverings indoors, “but must document their vaccination status.”  Therefore, employers are obligated by law to “document” whether their employees are vaccinated, and if an employee refuses to answer, the employer must list them as “not vaccinated.”

Can your employer ask for proof of vaccination? Yes, but employers are not required by law to ask for proof and cannot lawfully insist on proof.  Employers can meet their legal obligation simply by asking you whether you are fully vaccinated and write down your reply.   

If an employee falsely states that they are fully vaccinated, can they be disciplined?  Yes.

If I’m unvaccinated, do I need to keep wearing a mask at work? Yes.

Is my employer obligated to give me an approved respirator for voluntary use when working indoors or in a vehicle with others, upon request? Yes.

What’s an “approved respirator”? Generally, an N95 mask.