On February 25, 2022 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) updated its masking guidelines. Dropping COVID-19 numbers across the U.S. prompted the update which lessens public indoor mask recommendations for a majority of individuals.

The newly revised guidelines encourage individuals to focus on statistical information to assist with mitigation strategies. The CDC’s Community Levels tracker is a useful tool that can assist in determining which steps to take as employers begin evaluating internal COVID-19 protocols as impacts of the Omicron variant recede.  

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has also updated its masking protocols as of February 28, 2022.   As of March 1, 2022 the prior “requirement” that unvaccinated individuals mask in indoor public settings was changed to a “strong recommendation” that all persons, regardless of vaccine status, continue indoor masking. March 11, 2022 is now set as the date universal masking requirement for K-12 and Childcare settings will terminate. Mask mandates remain in place for everyone in specified high-transmission settings and employers should keep in mind that local jurisdictions may also have additional requirements/guidelines.

Responding to CDPH updates Governor Newsom signed a new executive order on February 28, 2022 updating the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The order also extends the current ETS through May 5, 2022 allowing Cal/OSHA time to review the new CDPH guidance in anticipation of the next readoption of the ETS.

Both the CDC and CDPH remind individuals that regardless of current masking recommendations, they may always choose to wear a mask to provide themselves greater protection in certain situations.

In accordance with Cal/OSHA ETS, Employers must continue to provide face coverings upon an employee’s request and should continue to monitor and follow CDC and CDPH guidelines.

When reevaluating or updating company-wide recommended COVID-19 guidelines communication is key. Employers should provide employees with updates and anticipated updates in advance of changing protocols to prevent confusion or misinformation from negatively impacting the employer/employee relationship.

Members with questions about updated COVID-19 guidelines should contact Western Growers.

WG Staff Contact

Teresa McQueen
Corporate Counsel

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