The Cal/OSHA board met early Thursday to try and make a decision over mask regulations that could remain in place until early 2022. But several hours of public comments from outraged constituents derailed the meeting.
“Employers should not be compelled to track vaccination status and create two classes of people as the only way to comply with these rules,” said Helen Cleary, Phlymar Group.
The CDC announced fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks in most settings anymore, but California’s mask mandate is still in place until June 15th.
Cal/OSHA’s proposal would have vaccinated workers wearing a mask until everyone in their workplace is fully vaccinated, his would help protect against breakthrough cases and reduce spread from unvaccinated workers.
Businesses say they don’t understand why Cal/OSHA’s guidelines do not coincide with federal regulations.
“One of our members is considering placing stickers on id badges to determine who is vaccinated and who is not. The unintended consequences of these provisions are serious and they cannot be understated, they have the potential to negatively impact thousands of workers in the state,” added Cleary.
Those representing commercial workers say what it boils down to is politics.
“I do believe that if you are in the workplace and you are exposed as are food workers, our service workers whether it be restaurant or hospitality or our retail grocery that are at a much higher rate of infection that is a fact, and has been a fact throughout this pandemic,” said Joe Duffle, President of United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Duffle says that what organizations need to do is focus on consistency, whether all the masks are gone, or if they stay.
Another concern is herd immunity.
“We haven’t reached herd immunity here in California, we’ve done a great job catching up but we haven’t reached that herd immunity and that’s just riverside county. San Bernardino counties numbers, unfortunately, are not as good as riverside counties,” said Duffle.