New CDC Mask Guidelines May Create Problems for California’s Employers
Today’s new CDC guidance that fully vaccinated persons may stop wearing masks and distancing in most settings is a welcome announcement after over a year of the COVID crisis. However, California employers should note that the new CDC guidance has an exception that largely swallows the guidance because masks and distancing should be maintained “where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” Until such time as the California Department of Public Health, Cal/OSHA and local authorities update their guidance on mask use and physical distancing in the workplace, California’s employers should continue to enforce existing standards to stave off claims of workplace safety violations.
As a result of the CDC’s announcement and accompanying publicity, employers should anticipate that fully vaccinated employees will seek exceptions to current mask and distancing policies that might be in place. Employers should remain vigilant enforcing current standards until such time as California, Cal/OSHA and local authorities concur and provide new guidance. Feel free to reach out to your favorite CDF attorney for updates and insights into local and California changes.