(CALMATTERS) – Less than a week away from California’s full reopening, key details remain unresolved.
On June 15, the state will eliminate the color-coded blueprint that’s governed our lives for much of the past year — another six counties moved into less restrictive tiers on Tuesday, by the way — and allow businesses to reopen at full capacity. California will also update its mask guidance, allowing fully vaccinated residents to forgo face coverings in most situations.
But here’s where the California reopening confusion sets in: As things stand, local governments and individual businesses alike can choose to implement tougher rules — possibly resulting in a patchwork of different policies.
Workplace guidelines are also up in the air, with the state’s workplace safety agency today set to reconsider rules it passed during a chaotic meeting last week that require many employees to continue wearing masks. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who took heat for suggesting he would allow the rules to remain in place, now appears to be encouraging Cal/OSHA to change its mind.
- A spokesperson for the governor’s office: We “are hopeful the Board will further revise its guidance to reflect the latest science while continuing to protect workers and balancing realistic and enforceable requirements for employers.”
A coalition of high-profile business groups sent Newsom a letter Tuesday urging him to issue an executive order overturning Cal/OSHA’s current rules. They argued that strict masking rules could disincentivize employees from returning to work — a consequence the state may not be able to afford, given many open positions are already going unfilled. The business groups also asked county public health officials to not impose tougher reopening rules that could confuse employees and customers.
Meanwhile, it appears the state will give businesses a fair amount of discretion when it comes to verifying customers’ vaccination status — and thus whether they need to wear masks. Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services secretary, said in a Monday letter to Cal/OSHA that businesses could ask customers about their vaccination status, implement a vaccine verification system, or require all patrons to wear masks.
Still, privacy concerns remain. The state on Monday warned that fraudsters may be attempting to scam Californians by taking advantage of Newsom’s $116.5 million vaccine lottery program.