On February 28, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order (EO) that suspended Section 3205(c)(6)(A) of the current Cal/OSHA ETS. As a result, employers will no longer have to provide face coverings to employees who are not fully vaccinated, and such employees will no longer have to wear a mask indoors or in vehicles at the workplace, subject to two limitations within the ETS and more restrictive local guidance. The EO cites sections 8567, 8571, and 8267 of the California Government Code as providing the authority to take this action. The EO also extended the deadline to reenact the Cal/OSHA ETS from April 14, 2022, to May 5, 2022.

Notwithstanding the EO, all employees must continue to wear masks while in vehicles with others (see CCR, Title 8, Section 3205.4(c)(2) & (3)) and employees subject to the Isolation/Quarantine guidelines (i.e., either close exposures to a COVID-19 case or a COVID-19 case returning to work without symptoms) are still required to wear masks in the workplace. Cal-OSHA has posted updated FAQs which provide a list of circumstances where face masks must still be worn. In addition, California counties are allowed to have stricter guidance than the state of California.

To ensure that they are compliant and their practices are consistent with ongoing COVID-19 law and policy developments, employers should consult experienced counsel.