The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken steps to move forward with President Biden’s plan to require private-sector workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be regularly tested. OSHA submitted the initial text of the proposed standard to the White House for approval on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. The text has not been made public, and details could change during White House review. Continue Reading OSHA Vaccination ETS Moving Forward
On October 11, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order expanding upon a recently passed law that generally prohibited Texas businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from customers. The new executive order applies to both consumers and employees and states, in part: “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.” The executive order does not define “personal conscience” or explain what “prior recovery from COVID-19” means in the context of objecting to a COVID-19 vaccine. The order also sets up a maximum fine of $1,000 for failure to comply with the order (although the order is unclear regarding how the fine would be calculated). Continue Reading Texas Executive Order Creates Confusion for Mandatory Vaccination Policies
On October 7, 2021, Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health announced that the city will relax indoor face mask requirements in certain settings if hospitalization rates remain stable or decline. The change will take effect October 15, 2021. Read the announcement. Continue Reading San Francisco Relaxes Mask Requirements for Indoor Settings With Groups of Vaccinated Individuals Who Regularly Interact
On October 6, 2021, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Twitter that he had signed an ordinance expanding the city’s requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The law will become effective on November 4 and will remain in effect until further notice. Continue Reading Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti Signs Ordinance Requiring Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Certain Indoor Establishments and Large Outdoor Events
On September 17, 2021, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health issued a new Public Health Order, effective at midnight on October 7, 2021, and continuing until further notice.
The Health Order emphasizes that “[t]he best way to reduce the current level of community transmission and to prevent future surges is for everyone who is eligible, including those who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection, to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.” To promote its goal and reduce community transmission of the virus, the Health Order requires: Continue Reading LA County Issues New Health Order Affecting Bars, Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries, Restaurants, and Outdoor Mega Events
On September 14, 2021, Contra Costa County issued Health Order No. HO-COVID19-57 (the “Order”) mandating certain Contra Costa County businesses and operations to verify its patrons and employees are either fully vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test result in response to the surging number of COVID-19 delta variant cases. The Order takes effect at 8:00 a.m. on September 22, 2021. Continue Reading Contra Costa County Issues Mandate Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine or Testing for Certain Businesses, Non-Profits, and Higher Education Institutions
On September 1, 2021, the City of Berkeley issued an order mandating that certain Berkeley businesses and operations verify proof of full vaccination of their employees and patrons (the Order) in response to the surging number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases.
Today, President Biden announced the nation’s COVID-19 Action Plan, which is a six-prong, comprehensive national strategy designed to save lives, keep schools open and safe, and protect the nation’s economy while avoiding additional lockdowns and damage. The six prongs are:
- Vaccinating the unvaccinated;
- Further protecting the vaccinated;
- Keeping schools safely open;
- Increasing testing & requiring masking;
- Protecting the nation’s economic recovery; and
- Improving care for those with COVID-19.
On August 25, 2021, Cal/OSHA issued a press release which encouraged employers and workers to follow the recent update from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommending that all individuals wear face coverings while indoors regardless of vaccination status (August 25 Recommendation). The full text of the Cal/OSHA press release is linked here and the CDPH guidance is available here. The practical impact of the August 25 Recommendation is to encourage (but not require) that businesses go beyond the current Cal/OSHA ETS (our analysis of which is linked here) and reimplement a requirement that even vaccinated employees to wear face coverings indoors.
On August 13, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released updated general industry guidance for COVID-19 that is applicable to all workplaces. OSHA’s general industry guidance, which is advisory and creates no binding legal requirements, focuses on unvaccinated workers and others who are “at risk” (i.e., immunocompromised individuals).
OSHA has added additional recommendations that apply to all workers, including fully vaccinated workers, to comply with the Center for Disease Control’s July 27, 2021, mask and testing recommendations for fully vaccinated people. This is significant because the previous version of the OSHA guidance allowed fully vaccinated workers to go without face coverings and physical distancing whether indoors or outdoors.
The following update addresses this OSHA guidance.