As the COVID-19 landscape evolves and the Omicron variant pervades, state and local governments and health authorities have modified their recommendations, guidance, and regulations in an effort to manage the pandemic.

For example, on December 30, 2021, following the CDC’s December 27, 2021, changes to its quarantine and isolation recommendations, the California Department of Public

The CDC recently updated its guidelines on, among other things, quarantine and isolation periods and recommendations regarding booster shots. Below is a high-level summary of some of these changes.

At the end of December 2021, the CDC updated its guidance regarding quarantine and isolation. A media statement from the CDC regarding its updates can be found here. Some of the biggest changes from the December recommendations involved the following:

  • Reducing isolation for those with COVID-19 to five days followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others.
  • Revising quarantine periods, including:
    • For unvaccinated individuals, individuals who completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna over five months ago and are not boosted, or individuals who completed J&J over two months ago and are not boosted, quarantine five days followed by “strict mask use” for five days.
    • If quarantine is “not feasible,” wear a “well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.”
    • Individuals who have received booster shots do not need to quarantine but should wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.

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

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Board) readopted a revised version of its earlier Emergency Temporary Standards (Standard) for employers on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace on December 16, 2021. The revised Standard was readopted by a 6-1 vote in the form proposed by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Division) and will take effect on January 14, 2022, for a period of 90 days. 

On December 13, 2021, the California Department of Health (CPDH) reinstituted a statewide mask mandate. From December 15, 2021 through at least January 15, 2022, all individuals will be required to wear masks in indoor public settings. The mandate applies regardless of vaccination status.

The mandate exempts children under two, persons with medical conditions or

On December 3, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected, without analysis, the Biden administration’s request to expedite the briefing schedule on the issue of whether to dissolve an injunction from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which stayed enforcement of Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine Emergency

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

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: