The California Department of Industrial Relations just updated its CalOSHA Safety and Health standards to reflect changes in COVID protocols. The primary change to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board’s revised temporary rule appears to “erase distinctions between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees,” the Associated Press reported.
“New California rules end distinction for vaccinated workers,” means California’s Health and medical bureaucrats just admitted the COVID vaccines do not stop transmission of the virus.
According to the AP:
The main change to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board’s revised temporary rule would erase current distinctions between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.
Both would be prohibited from the workplace if they come in close contact with someone infected with the virus.
The revised temporary rules would require that exposed, vaccinated but asymptomatic workers stay home for 14 days even if they test negative or, if they return to work, to wear masks and stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) from others for two weeks.
Specifically, the new DIR updated standards says:
“‘Exposed group’ means all employees at a work location, working area, or a common area at work, where an employee COVID-19 case was present at any time during the high-risk exposure period.”
“The employer shall develop and implement a process for screening employees for and responding to employees with COVID-19 symptoms. The employer may ask employees to evaluate their own symptoms before reporting to work. If the employer conducts screening indoors at the workplace, the employer shall ensure that face coverings are used during screening by both screeners and employees
who are not fully vaccinated and, if temperatures are measured, that non-contact thermometers are used.”
“Make COVID-19 testing available at no cost, during paid time, to all employees of the employer who had a close contact in the workplace and provide them with the information on benefits described in subsections (c)(5)(B) and (c)(9)(C).,
with the following exceptions:
Employees who were fully vaccinated before the close contact and do not have COVID-19 symptoms.”
This comes only one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration reimposed indoor mask mandates for one month, (Dec. 15 – Jan. 15) claiming a post-Thanksgiving spike in “new COVID-19 cases” – and just in time for Christmas.
The California COVID dashboard really doesn’t reflect this, with average cases per 100,000 dropping from 14 to 13, and only 0.1 new deaths per 100,000:
However, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said here will be no “enforcement” of the new indoor mask mandate, and instead hopes people use the honor system.
No “enforcement” signals there is no real mandate, or that this mandate is not enforceable.
Quite notably, the AP reports Rob Moutrie, a policy advocate for the California Chamber of Commerce, opposes the revisions. “Treating vaccinated and unvaccinated people similarly really denies the scientific value of the vaccine and disincentivizes vaccination,” he said.
One of the changes requires testing vaccinated workers showing no symptoms. Employers and businesses expressed concern about the cost and interruption in business, including one Northern California business manager who asked to remain anonymous. “We already are reeling from existing and ongoing state and county COVID rules, as well as labor shortages. This will add to that problem, not solve it, which only hurts our business. As other businesses are saying, ‘we are not the vaccination or mask police.'”
These rules apply to most California workplaces.