(CALMATTERS) – Masks at school, but not at the store. Well, unless you work at the store. But store employees may only have to wear masks until June 28. As long as they’re fully vaccinated. But it’s up to businesses to figure out how to verify employees’ vaccination status. Or not.
If that sounds confusing, then it’s an accurate portrayal of the patchwork of policies various state agencies unveiled Wednesday, six days before California’s grand reopening.
First, Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s top health officer, announced that California will on June 15 align its mask rules with that of the federal government: Fully vaccinated people can forgo face coverings in most settings, with notable exceptions including K-12 school classrooms and public transportation.
Then, the standards board of the state’s workplace safety agency voted to repeal the mask policy it passed last week after changing its mind twice. It will consider modifying the policy yet again on June 17, with changes — which could include allowing fully vaccinated workers to go maskless — set to go into effect June 28.
In the meantime, even stricter emergency regulations will snap back into place — meaning all employees, even those who are fully vaccinated, must wear masks and physically distance, among other requirements.
As if those announcements — intended to answer the unresolved questions hanging over California’s full reopening — weren’t complicated enough, other key details were left up in the air. Chief among them: How will businesses distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees? And although businesses have some leeway to determine customers’ vaccination status, can one of the options — the honor system — be relied on to keep everyone safe?
For answers to your reopening-related questions, check out this Q&A from CalMatters’ Ben Christopher.