As of Friday, Jan. 14, the second readoption of Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) has officially gone into effect. 

Indoor Mask Mandate Continues

On January 5, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced the extension of California’s indoor mask mandate, now scheduled through at least February 15. The mandate, which was originally scheduled to expire on January 15, comes as a response to the state’s steep increase in reported COVID-19 cases, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH):

“Over the last two weeks, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by more than sixfold and hospitalizations have doubled. While the percentage of Californians fully vaccinated and boosted continues to increase, we continue to have areas of the state where vaccine coverage is low, putting individuals and communities at greater risk for COVID-19.”

Guidelines for Quarantine and Isolation Updated

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has published an updated guidance regarding COVID-19 isolation and quarantine requirements to align itself with the timeframe recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This update also includes the recommendation of “additional mitigation measures, including continued focus on testing and masking to best contain this more transmissible variant in our communities.” 

Because Cal/OSHA’s second readoption of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) exceeds the applicable isolation and quarantine recommendations, the CDPH guidance overrides the ETS. According to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-84-20:

“The exclusion periods required in California Code of Regulations, Title 8, section 3205(c)(10) and the periods for which a worker shall not return to work specified in section 3205(c) (11) shall be suspended to the extent that they exceed the longer of: 

a. Any applicable quarantine or isolation period recommended by the CDPH, including in the December 14, 2020 Updated COVID-19 Quarantine Guidelines; or

b. Any applicable quarantine or isolation period recommended or ordered by a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace. “However, please note that the second readoption of the ETS still goes into effect on January 14, 2022. Until then, per Cal/OSHA, “the quarantine rules for fully vaccinated workers set forth [in the current ETS] continue to apply because exclusion period for this group of workers is not longer than those recommended by the updated CDPH guidance.”The upcoming exclusion requirements below can be found on Cal/OSHA’s FAQ page, which has been updated to reflect the aforementioned information.

Source: Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP

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