On December 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit granted the Biden Administration’s motion to Dissolve the Stay of the OSHA Vaccine ETS, which was issued by the Fifth Circuit on November 5, 2021.  See link to full opinion. Judge Stranch (an Obama appointee) authored the opinion, which Judge Gibbons (a Bush appointee) joined. Judge Larsen

On November 6, 2021, in a per curiam opinion, a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal panel temporarily enjoined the new Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s vaccine Emergency Temporary  Standard (“ETS”) for employers with 100 or more employees.  A copy of the opinion is available here.  Our prior blog post on the ETS is available

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

On August 3, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to require both workers and customers to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to participate in indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment. Individuals will be able to provide proof of vaccination status using a “Key to

Seven Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley issued Health Orders mandating mask use for indoor public spaces such as places of work. The Orders apply to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. However, the Orders provide exceptions for individuals working alone in a closed office space, individuals that are eating or drinking, and individuals specifically exempted by the California Department of Public Health guidance such as individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask. The indoor mask mandates are effective August 3, 2021 and will continue to be in effect until rescinded. If your company has business in any of these locations, please review each applicable order for detailed information.

Note that in the workplace, workers must also follow Cal/OSHA mask requirements. Please consult with legal counsel for questions related to the Health Orders or Cal/OSHA.

The links to the relevant Health Orders are included below:

Seven Bay Area Counties– Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma—and the City of Berkley issued a press release on July 16, 2021 strongly recommending that everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places, including workplaces, to protect against the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant

On June 17, the Cal-OSHA board approved a set of revisions to the Emergency Transmission Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 issued on June 11 (June 11 Revisions). Pursuant to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order (see link), the new revisions take effect as soon as they are filed with the California Secretary of State and conform Cal-OSHA

On May 13, 2021, the CDC once again updated its guidance (here and here), significantly relaxing its standards for fully vaccinated individuals. “Fully vaccinated individuals” means that two weeks or more have passed since the person received either the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. Immunocompromised people, even if fully vaccinated, should consult their healthcare providers about the applicability of this new guidance.

The updated guidance provides that fully vaccinated individuals can:

  • Resume activities they engaged in prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.

The CDC provided an updated infographic to help explain activities that unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people may engage in with corresponding risk levels.

On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom approved SB 95, which requires COVID-19 supplemental sick leave through September 30, 2021 and creates new COVID-19 vaccine–related paid sick leave obligations for covered employers. The new law, which adds Sections 248.2 and 248.3 to California’s Labor Code, is effective immediately, but the employer obligation to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave does not take effect until March 29 (10 days after the date of enactment). It is important to note that the obligation to provide supplemental paid sick leave is retroactive to January 1, 2021, which means employers may owe back pay to employees who took covered leave on a previously unpaid basis, following the December 31, 2020 expiration of California’s previous supplemental sick leave legislation, discussed here.

The requirement is in addition to California’s mandated paid sick leave and may be used by covered employees upon oral or written request. An employee cannot be required to use any other paid or unpaid leave, time off, or vacation before the supplemental sick leave. The Labor Commissioner has developed a poster that employers are required to display or disseminate regarding the new requirements.