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:

Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome, colloquially referred to as long COVID-19, occurs when an individual who had COVID-19 continues to experience ongoing symptoms for months afterward. Individuals with long COVID-19 might have difficulty working in the same way they did before and may be entitled to workplace accommodations so they can do their job. Even if these employees do not think of themselves as having a disability, they may meet the Americans with Disabilities Act definition.

Under the ADA, an employee is entitled to accommodations if they meet the definition of an individual with a disability and are qualified for the job with the reasonable accommodation. An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Whether a particular condition is a disability as defined by the ADA requires a case-by-case determination. However, employers are free to provide accommodations even if someone doesn’t meet the definition of disability – and they must provide accommodations if they do meet it, absent undue hardship.

On June 3, 2021, California’s Occupational Safety & Healthy Standards Board approved significant revisions to the initial COVID-19-related Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) originally implemented on November 19, 2020 (see Perkins Coie’s previous blog post here). The amended regulations can be found here and will likely become effective on June 15, 2021, pending review by the California Office of Administrative Law—to be completed within 10 days—and will stay in place for 180 days.

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.