BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — If you’ve been looking forward to shedding your face mask after enduring more than a year of the pandemic, the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health says ‘not so fast.’ Cal/OSHA says all employees still need to wear masks at work, unless employers can prove everyone is fully vaccinated. This comes as Governor Gavin Newsom says he will not end California’s state of COVID emergency on June 15. That could change … But for now, many pandemic-weary business owners are trying to figure out how to keep up with the new rules. Doctors say vaccines make workplaces safer.
“The science is pretty clear. If you are in a room full of fully vaccinated individuals, the likelihood of transmission is extremely low, if not zero,” said Glenn Goldis, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Kern Medical.
Meanwhile experts say some business owners want to more power to choose whether they require workers to wear masks.
“There has been a lot of pushback from employers.,” said Robin Paggi, Human Resources Practitioner for Worklogic HR. “Then there’s the disappointment of people who have been vaccinated, knowing some of coworkers are not vaccinated for whatever reason, then they have to keep the mask on.”
She says employees need to keep a close eye on their workplace’s policies.
“Employers have the right to require employees to be vaccinated, to require people to be vaccinated in order to hire them,” said Paggi. “They have the right to terminate people who refuse the vaccine … unless the employee is not getting the vaccine because of religious purposes or because of medical purposes.”
Cal/OSHA says it will form a subcommittee to revise the rules, but it’s unclear when that will happen.
In the meantime, doctors encourage Kern residents to get vaccinated to keep themselves and others safe.