California to drop COVID workplace mask rules for vaccinated people: Newsom

Beleaguered workplace-safety board to make public its new rules later Friday, governor says

California to drop COVID workplace mask rules for vaccinated people: Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday said the state’s workplace-safety board will make public later in the day new proposed rules to lift workplace-mask requirements to align with state guidelines that say vaccinated people do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings.

Newsom also hinted that he would take action to ensure the rules come into effect when the state reopens Tuesday, but he did not provide details of how that would occur.

The Cal/OSHA board came under fire after approving, then last week withdrawing, controversial rules that would have required all workers to wear masks if anyone else in the same room was not vaccinated. Under pressure from Newsom and business groups, the board earlier this week said it would develop new rules aligned with the state’s and Centers for Disease Control guidance, allowing fully vaccinated workers to go mask-free in most workplaces, regardless of co-workers’ vaccination status.

But withdrawal of the rules means earlier workplace orders imposed by OSHA in November, requiring all workers to wear masks unless alone in a room, would be in effect until around June 28, creating separate rules for workplaces than for other areas because of a 10-day delay built into the rule-making process.

Newsom said he was confident that Cal/OSHA’s proposal to be made public Friday afternoon would align with the state. He said he would take action to “appropriately” address that gap.

“We seek to clarify that in real time … and will be clear in our intent after OSHA’s action,” Newsom said.

Check back for more details on this breaking story.