No more masks on the job for California workers fully vaccinated for COVID-19

Cal/OSHA institutes new guidelines for workplace safety as state reopens.

Note: This article was updated after the July 15 announcement that Los Angeles County would re-instate its indoor masking guidance.

Most workers in California who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks on the job.

The state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, adopted new guidelines on June 17 that also do away with physical distancing requirements at the workplace and the need for plastic partitions separating cashiers and customers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to make the new rules effective immediately.

The new workplace rules align with statewide reopening policies that went into effect June 15, allowing people who are fully vaccinated to go without masks in nearly all public settings. As of July 17, however, residents and workers in Los Angeles County will once again be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, owing to rising rates of COVID-19 cases.

Masks will still be required, regardless of vaccination status, for employees and visitors in health care settings, long-term care facilities, K-12 schools and childcare settings, homeless and emergency shelters and jails and detention centers.

Masks are also necessary in transportation hubs and on trains, buses and airplanes.

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

Mask guidelines have further loosened since the state reopened June 15.

Workers who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still need to wear masks at work and in public places. Workplaces are required to provide masks or respirators to unvaccinated employees who request them.

Cal/OSHA defines says employees are considered fully vaccinated “when the employer has documented that the person received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines must be FDA approved; have an emergency use authorization from the FDA; or, for persons fully vaccinated outside the United States, be listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).”

Have more mask questions? Visit the California Department of Public Health's Face Coverings Q&A.

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