“Governor Newsom signs Executive Order expediting Cal/OSHA’s revised COVID-19 regulations to ensure consistency with Public Health Guidance,” the headline from the governor’s office said in an email sent out Thursday afternoon.
It took many visits to CalOSHA/CDPH/CDC web pages to figure out the order, but in a nutshell it’s this: Unvaccinated people must wear masks “in indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public.” And California businesses are being encouraged to require the unvaccinated to wear masks.
But at this point, it’s on the honor system.
In workplaces, it’s less clear because Newsom’s memo says the CalOSHA guidelines now align with the California Department of Public Health’s which says: In workplaces, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) or in some workplaces the CalOSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard, and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.
This is more of that deliberate confusion we reported on earlier this week.
Newsom’s email memo is a word salad, in attempting to explain – sort of:
Following the vote by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards that reflect the state’s latest COVID-19 public health order, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order enabling the revisions to take effect without the normal 10-day review period by the Office of Administrative Law – providing clarity and consistency for employers and employees as California fully reopens its economy.
Among other updates, Cal/OSHA’s revisions align with the latest guidance from the California Department of Public Health – based on guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – on face coverings and eliminate physical distancing requirements, except for certain employees during outbreaks. Unless they show symptoms, fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or be excluded from work after close contact with a COVID-19-positive person.
So, Gov. Newsom allowed CalOSHA to waive the usual 10-day review period on it’s revised guidelines, which were merely adopted from the California Department of Public Health guidelines, which really are issued by the Centers for Disease Control, HERE.
Having difficulty locating the clarity Newsom spoke of, the Globe visited the California Department of Public Health website to read the updated “guidance” from Director & State Public Health Officer Tomás J. Aragón, where the push is for more Californians to get vaccinated:
“At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, California is prepared to enter a new phase. We have made significant progress in vaccinating individuals and reducing community transmission thanks to the steps taken by Californians.”
“The COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing infection, disease, and spread. Unvaccinated persons are more likely to get infected and spread the virus which is transmitted through the air and concentrates indoors.”
“All individuals must follow the requirements in the Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings issued by the California Department of Public Health.”
So the Globe visited the CDPH page with the Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings, and found this, which is not a recommendation or “guidance;” it’s “required.”
The Guidance for Businesses says this:
In settings where masks are required only for unvaccinated individuals, businesses, venue operators or hosts may choose to:
- Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.
- Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask.
- Require all patrons to wear masks.
“No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.”
Children older than age 2 are required to wear masks at schools, and “school settings.”
The governor, who is spending heavily on ads claiming that California is ROARING Back, is hanging on to as many of his previous orders as he can, while he still holds emergency powers – even though the emergency is long since over.
Gov. Newsom’s memo adds this at the end:
Initially implemented last November, the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards remain an important component of the state’s ongoing response, providing balanced worker protections that support California’s continued progress in recovering from the pandemic.
Given that California is still not really fully open given the mask mandates and restrictions on people who chose not to get vaccinated, Newsom can’t claim the state is roaring back the way say, Gov. Ron DeSantis can, with his state actually fully opened, with no mask restrictions, and no one pushing more vaccines on the state’s residents.
The Californians who wanted to get the vaccines have done so. The others have assessed their own risk, and given that the death rate in California is only 1.69% decided to opt out. They should be allowed to move about the cabin freely at this point.
Here is Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order: