Synopsis of Seyfarth: At May 21, 2021, California health officials have confirmed that the state’s long-awaited reopening date of June 15 is a date. With this announcement comes the long-awaited publication of details on the restrictions that are about to be lifted.– which seems to be pretty much everything, at least at the state level. (Local restrictions may still apply.)
Abandon the plan and align with the CDC
In recent weeks, most states have lifted many remaining COVID-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, California residents were awaiting when the state would provide details of its scheduled economic reopening on June 15.
That moment finally came on May 21, 2021, when California health officials announcement the reopening was on track and will bring drastic changes to the restrictions.
The biggest change is the retirement of the state Blueprint for a more secure economy setting and removing capacity limits and physical distancing requirements regardless of setting. This means that companies in all sectors will be allowed to open at full capacity, if they wish.
Other changes include full alignment with the Advice from the CDC regarding face coverings (which differ for vaccinated and unvaccinated people) and the lifting of all out-of-state travel restrictions (with a note that any future travel restrictions will also be aligned with the CDC).
Additionally, California will not require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to engage in activities, although individual businesses can still choose to do so (and some counties have imposed status-related requirements. vaccine). Nevertheless, the State intends to maintain recommendations for such checks in place for “mega events” (outdoor events with more than 10,000 people and / or indoor events with more than 5,000 people).
Location is always everything
California’s plans to reopen its economy will almost certainly mean that a significant portion of the state will follow suit. However, it’s important to remember that counties and cities can always impose their own more stringent precautions, and businesses are generally required to follow the strictest set of applicable guidelines.
Some counties have already announced their intention to align with the state’s updated reopening plans and guidance, but some have yet to address the issue, indicating they may opt for a more phased approach to remove local restrictions. Companies operating in counties that still have higher infection levels will want to closely monitor any tighter restrictions that may remain in place, especially around those requiring or encouraging continued remote work where possible.
What about the Cal / OSHA Temporary Emergency Standard (ETS)?
As previously stated, Cal / OSHA proposed revisions to its ETS on May 7, 2021. Following the update to the CDC’s mask guidelines of May 13, 2021, Cal / OSHA has put the proposed changes on hold at its May 20, 2021 meeting. Cal / OSHA is currently preparing proposed new revisions to the ETS and intends to make an updated proposal available for review by May 28, 2021. We expect that any new requirements may align more closely with the guidelines. mask from the CDC and will be released by the scheduled reopening date of June 15, 2021.
During this time, employers must still adhere to any restrictions imposed by Cal / OSHA and must continue to adhere to the ETS November 2020 (and associated guidance) until further binding guidance is issued.
There are still many moving parts and uncertainties as California moves towards its plan to reopen next month. If you need help planning your workplace safety or have questions about reopening or expanding operations requirements in accordance with national and local restrictions, Seyfarth’s Workplace Solutions is here. to help you with these and other questions related to COVID-19.