A top California health official announced new rules Wednesday on the wearing of masks in the state, loosening one of the strictest masking regimens in the United States. But crucially for employers, rules for workplaces remain unsettled.
People who are fully vaccinated will not have to wear a mask in most activities, such grocery shopping, hanging out at a bar or going to the gym, Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Health and Human Services Secretary, told reporters in a teleconference.
However, those who are unvaccinated will still be required to wear a mask in indoor public settings, such as stores, shops and restaurants. Masks will still be required for everyone is some settings, including public transit, hospitals, K-12 schools, indoor workplaces and theme parks like Disneyland.
The new rules are meant to match the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on mask-wearing for individuals vaccinated against the coronavirus.
California is getting ready to fully reopen and ease pandemic-related restrictions on June 15.
Workplace rules are still in flux, pending a decision by the state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. The board held an emergency meeting Wednesday and voted to reconsider its stance that workers in workplace settings with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals must still wear masks. A notice for the meeting suggests the board wasn't aware of state health officials' plans when it issued that ruling.
The board directed staff to prepare a new proposal taking CDC and state health officials' guidance into account. The earliest that a modified proposal could take effect would be June 28, officials said, which means that mask-wearing will still be required in reopened workplaces.
Most Bay Area tech companies have delayed full reopening until the fall and require masks in offices that have reopened.