To Mask or Not to Mask, That Is the Question: Dr. Hoffman Offers Guidance for Businesses on Signage About Masking and More
New CAL-OSHA rules adopted by the Governor this week require employers to inform the state of their employee’s vaccination status and offered several different options. Business owners have the option to allow employees who are fully vaxxed to be unmasked. “There are three options for business owners to inform those who are fully vaccinated what to do in their establishment,” explained Dr. Hoffman. Local businesses will need to decide how to collect this information from their staff. Additional details are expected to come soon, in regard to the process of supplying this data to the State of California.
The three options for businesses in regard to masking are either to “self-attest,” wearing a mask or not – basically choosing the honor system, for an employer to require a person to show proof of vaccination before removing their mask upon entry, or to effectively avoid any declaration as to vaccination status by simply requiring everyone to mask up regardless.
Employers are being asked to maintain confidential records of vaccination status for any employee not wearing a face covering, and to report vaccination status of employees to the state.
The three ways of providing employee COVID-19 vaccination data to the state are:
- Employees can offer proof of vaccination, and employers maintain a copy.
- Employees offer proof of vaccination, but the employer only maintains a record of the employees who presented proof, not the vaccine record itself.
- Employees “self-attest” to vaccination status on a good-faith understanding, and the employer maintains a record of who self-attests.
New signage provided by the county offers three options to business owners, and these posters can be downloaded and printed from a press release issued by the Joint Information Center recently.
Dr. Hoffman quickly laid out the new points to be aware of in regard to masking and public policy changes locally following the June 15th reopening.
Some of the more notable adjustments to public policy are as follows:
- Only unvaccinated workers are required to wear face coverings inside at work.
- Vaccinated employees don’t need to wear face coverings.
- Nobody is required to wear face coverings outside any longer, but…
- When in “high-risk settings such as health care facilities and during workplace outbreaks, all employees must wear face coverings indoors and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
- Vaccinated workers without symptoms of COVID-19 do not have to be tested, and don’t need to quarantine after an exposure to the virus.
- Physical distancing and physical barriers like plexiglass are no longer required, unless there’s a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace.
- On request, employers must provide unvaccinated employees with respirators, for free and voluntary use.
- Employers have to offer “no cost testing” for COVID-19, during paid time, to unvaccinated employees if they develop symptoms or are exposed to the virus.
- Employers also have to offer “no cost testing” to vaccinated employees who develop symptoms, unvaccinated employees in an outbreak, and all employees in a major outbreak.
Dr. Hoffman also noted that many local businesses may be choosing to maintain masking policies, and that new signage is being made by the Joint Information Center to reflect changes in policy, offering a fresh take on masking for businesses. Still emphasizing the availability of vaccines across the county, the county health officer noted that the rate of hospitalizations locally has slightly slowed, but may be picking up in the coming weeks as a result of increased social activity and long-awaited summer events.
In regard to the revised CAL-OSHA workplace regulations, the state also now requires that employers provide N95 face masks to employees who decline to be vaccinated, and therefore still need to wear a mask in public spaces and at work. Healthcare spaces, correctional facilities, detention centers, K-12 schools, shelters, and other similar congregate settings will still be required to keep masking regulations in place.