On May 13th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) released a widely publicized guidance for fully vaccinated people. Notably, the CDC provided that fully vaccinated people can resume activities – indoors or outdoors – without wearing a mask or social distancing, except in certain contexts such as public transportation.
While this news certainly provides a favorable outlook for our return to normal, it does not change the masking or social distancing requirements applicable to California employers. COVID-19 health and safety restrictions are controlled at the local and state level, not by the CDC. Thus, the masking and social distancing requirements of your locality remain in effect. While certain states have already adopted the CDC’s new guidance, most have not.
California responded to the CDC’s new guidance on May 17th, with state officials providing that it will keep its existing mask guidance in place until June 15th, the same date that California plans on fully reopening its economy and moving out of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework. State officials did provide that they intend to allow fully vaccinated people to go without a mask in most indoor settings starting on June 15th.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“LACDPH”) followed suit the same day, issuing a news release stating that it will align itself with the state. In that news release, the LACDPH issued the following summary of the masking rules for the County:
Masks are still required for everyone at:
- Workplaces (under Cal/OSHA masking/distancing requirements)
- Large events, public transportation, retail, and business establishments
Masks are still required for all unvaccinated people:
- Outdoors anytime distancing cannot be maintained
Masks are not required for fully vaccinated people:
- Outdoors, unless attending crowded events
- Indoor and outdoor visits with other fully vaccinated people and with unvaccinated people from one household without high-risk people.
Thus, California employers must continue to follow the masking and social distancing requirements that govern their specific workplaces, irrespective of the CDC guidance.
California and individual counties have already loosened some of the masking and social distancing requirements for fully vaccinated workplaces. For example, Los Angeles does not require social distancing in offices where everyone is fully vaccinated.
If employers wish to open up their workplaces even more, they must review the applicable health and safety guidance released by California and their local health officer.
We will continue to monitor major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at www.brgslaw.com.
Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles H.W. Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP