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California’s New COVID Mask Rules: June 15 Mandate Explained

With California preparing to completely reopen its economy on June 15, wearing a mask will become optional in many public places.

After weeks of discussions, officials on Wednesday offered the clearest outlines yet of what is to come.

Here’s what you need to know:

General rules

Californians who are two weeks away from their last dose of vaccine will be allowed to mask-free in almost any setting, with a few exceptions, such as transit hubs or public transportation; in health and long-term care facilities; inside kindergartens through 12th grade, day care centers or other establishments for young people; in homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers; and in penitentiaries and detention centers.

The unvaccinated

In contrast, unvaccinated people will still need to mask themselves in indoor public places – including restaurants when not eating or drinking, retail stores and movie theaters.

The honor system

The responsibility of determining who is vaccinated and who is not will rest with business or site owners. Officials said operators can either allow customers to self-certify that they are vaccinated and therefore can enter without wearing a mask, implement some sort of vaccine verification system, or require all customers to wear a mask.

The mask option

State guidelines will make it clear that no one – even a fully vaccinated person – can be prevented from voluntarily wearing a mask as a condition of entering a business or participating in an activity.

Work places

On Wednesday evening, members of a California workplace safety council suggested they would act to allow fully vaccinated employees to stop wearing masks at work, bringing the proposed health rules in line with recommendations issued by the workers. federal and state health authorities.

Eric Berg, deputy chief of the California Occupational Safety and Health Division, said the standards are expected to “comply” with new mask rules issued by the California Department of Health. health care for the general public, which are expected to come into effect on Tuesday. These rules allow fully vaccinated people not to wear masks, with a few exceptions, such as on public transport.

Work-related concerns

The workplace rules being considered by Cal / OSHA have been welcomed by business groups, but some labor organizations have concerns.

Union representatives urged the board not to relax mask standards, saying the pandemic was not over and protective measures in addition to vaccinations were still needed to prevent vulnerable workers from getting sick .

“Showing up to work to earn a salary and support yourself and your family is not the same as deciding whether or not to go to a barbecue in the Sunday backyard. Most workers don’t have a choice, ”said Saskia Kim, representing the California Nurses Assn.

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