On January 6, 2022, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) released updated FAQs clarifying that the isolation and quarantine recommendations from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) (see post here) replace the exclusion periods and return-to-work criteria in the revised Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) approved by the OSHA Board on December 16, 2021. A link to guidance regarding the revised ETS, which takes effect on January 14, is available here.

The updated CDPH isolation and quarantine standards reduce the length of the quarantine for employees who test positive for COVID-19 to 5 days (from 10 days) if symptoms are not present or are resolving and if a diagnostic specimen (preferably an antigen test) collected on day 5 or later tests negative. In addition, these standards allow fully vaccinated employees who have also been boosted (or are not yet booster-eligible) to remain at work after exposure (assuming they have not developed symptoms or test positive). But such individuals need to test on day 5 with a negative result and wear a face covering around others (especially indoors) for 10 days after exposure. Cal/OSHA advises employers to review and begin the process of implementing the CDPH recommendations before January 14. Employers should consult experienced counsel to ensure they are compliant, and their practices are consistent with ongoing COVID-19 law and policy developments.