OSHA Reverse June 4th Decision On Mandatory Masks

Written by Christian Cappellari

With the Coronavirus Pandemic winding down in recent months, many Americans have begun the process of transitioning back to a more normal life that resembles their pre-Covid routines. Despite this, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted recently to continue to require masks in the workplace unless every employee had been vaccinated against Covid-19. 

This decision was met with severe backlash and forced Cal/OSHA to backtrack on their initial verdict. Rachel Michelin, president and CEO of the California Retailers Association, said the earlier rules “would have led to confusion, pitted employees against each other in the workplace and would have made our reopening much more complicated” This past Wednesday, they voted to reverse the decision, allowing reconsideration come their upcoming June 17 meeting. 

Business owners are hoping for more clarity following the June 17 meeting. Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, expressed in an email on Thursday that Cal/OSHA’s action was a “step in the right direction” but that there is still the possibility of there being some confusion regarding mask regulations.

Secretary of the state Health and Human Services Agency Dr. Mark Gahly still recommends that people who are not vaccinated wear masks in indoor public settings. He also said that businesses in California will have three options in the future regarding how they manage mask wearing in their offices. These include posting rules regarding mask-wearing and allowing visitors to say whether or not they are vaccinated, implementing a vaccine verification system to determine whether individuals should wear masks, or requiring everyone to wear a mask. 

Needless to say, while Cal/OSHA’s decision to back off on their original rule is a step in the right direction, it appears that masks will still be required for those who are unvaccinated, seemingly in an attempt to coerce Californians into getting the Covid-19 Vaccine.