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June 15, 2021 - 4 min read

California reopens its economy on June 15

As the State reopens, questions remain around mask requirements


June 15 marked a monumental landmark as California officially reopened its economy after 15 months of operating under pandemic restrictions. As various sectors open their doors to full capacity, some questions remain. Will masks still be required indoors and under what circumstances?

In short, Californians who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to go mask-free in many settings, with some exceptions that include: transit hubs, public transportation, healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, indoors at K-12 schools, childcare facilities or other youth
settings, homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and in correctional facilities and detention centers.

Unvaccinated individuals, on the other hand, will still be required to mask up in public indoor settings — including restaurants when not eating or drinking, retail stores and movie theaters.

It will be up to individual businesses or venue owners to determine how to handle vaccination status by allowing customers to self-attest that they’re vaccinated, implement a vaccine verification system, or require all patrons to wear a mask. Businesses may choose to enact stricter rules in some situations if they feel the need to.

Masks within the workplace

Mask rules for the workplace will more closely conform with public health guidelines and the details are forthcoming. Cal/OSHA previously ruled that workers who are fully vaccinated would have to wear masks indoors if a single unvaccinated person were present in the same room, but the agency has since rescinded that decision. On June 17, the agency will vote on new workplace rules that will likely follow the state and CDC’s recommendations, but the new rules won’t take effect until June 28 at the earliest.

Cal/OSHA deputy chief of Health, Eric Berg, said public health guidelines allow anyone who is vaccinated to forego wearing a mask indoors, and under those rules, "a vaccinated person would not have to wear a mask at work."

Mask rules could be fluid for some time as the recommendations continue to shift and businesses adapt to resuming in-person operations. Regardless of mask requirements, there is much to celebrate for businesses and individuals alike.

We will monitor future changes in guidance from the CDC. Learn more about the new guidelines here.

Stay up to date with the latest COVID-19, vaccine, and health related news through our News Center and our dedicated Return to the Workplace resources.

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