COVID-19 Updates Series: Short Bursts of Information for Running Your Business

07.19.22Baylee Davies

COVID-19 Updates Series

Short Bursts of Information for Running Your Business

July 19, 2022

Remove the Sunglasses and Don the Mask

The heat has risen in San Diego County this summer along with the county’s COVID community level, moving this mid-July from Medium to High. CDC published guidances recommend for Community Level High:

• Wear a mask indoors in public

• Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines

Get tested if you have symptoms

• Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness

While the above is strongly recommended, not mandated, several schools and military installations within San Diego County have already moved to a mask mandate; and if you plan to wear your superhero cape and eye mask, please be aware Comic-Con 2022 is requiring face mask wear for attendance as well!

March 25, 2022

CA Indoor Mask Mandates Are Now Optional in Most Settings

On February 28th, Governor Newsom signed an order updating the Cal/OSHA ETS eliminating the requirement that employers require face coverings be worn indoors or in vehicles for unvaccinated employees. This major change aligns with the California Department of Public Health’s release of new indoor masking guidance which took effect on March 1, 2022. It is important to understand that employers, upon request, must continue to provide face coverings to their employees at no cost to the employee. In addition, employees may choose to wear a face-covering at work, regardless of vaccination status, without fear of retaliation. It is important to note that employers, at their discretion, can continue to require face coverings to be worn at the workplace, regardless of the changes in mandates. CAL/OSHA has updated their FAQs to include the new changes but also emphasize many mandates remain, such as face coverings must be worn indoors for employees who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been exposed through Day 10. Allow SDHRC to help you remain in compliance by updating your current legally required COVID Prevention Program by contacting us today!

February 18, 2022

COVID Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (CSPSL)

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill SB 114 which reinstated the COVID Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (CSPSL) for all CA employers with 26 or more employees. Employers will be required to adhere to the many requirements of the new law beginning February 19th, 2022 including posting the CSPSL notice accessible to all employees in a conspicuous location at their worksite or via email, if employees work remotely. The Department of Industrial Labor has provided the notice in both English and Spanish on their website, along with valuable FAQs regarding the new 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law. Is your business prepared to meet all the criteria? Let SDHRC help you reach compliance by contacting us directly for support and visit our recent blog post for more information regarding CSPSL.

January 11, 2022

New Year, New Changes to CAL/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS)

On January 6, 2022, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) updated its FAQs to align with CDPH’s December 30, 2021, isolation and quarantine recommendations. Beginning January 14, 2022, the amount of days an employee is required to isolate/quarantine, regardless of vaccination status, has been reduced from 10 to 5 days, returning on day 6 to the workplace if adherence to specific protocols is followed, such as testing and being symptom-free (see FAQs for more details). These major changes will require revisions to the employer’s current COVID Prevention Plan (CPP) and immediate communication to your workforce regarding your return to work policy. Please reach out to us directly if you need assistance.

In other news, employers with 100+ employees will now need to ensure their workforce is vaccinated against COVID-19 or test weekly effective as of yesterday (Jan. 10, 2022), due to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. Keep in mind, this could change depending on the Supreme Court’s ruling, but as of now, the Federal ETS requirement stands.

December 23, 2021

The Stay Has Been Lifted

On Dec. 17, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing policy which requires businesses with 100 or more employees company-wide to ensure workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. OSHA made a statement that they will move forward with enforcing the requirements of the emergency temporary standard (ETS) beginning January 10, 2022. Employers need to have a written policy in place outlining the details of the mandates. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear any legal challenges on January 7, 2022, but until then, the ETS remains in effect. 

In addition, on December 16, 2021, the CA Department of Industrial Relations released a statement adopting revisions to the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards to take effect beginning January 14, 2022. Some of the revisions include additional details on investigating and responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace, face coverings, testing, and return to work criteria. An updated fact sheet and FAQs are available on the CAL/OSHA website.

December 14, 2021

Face Coverings Indoors

Effective tomorrow, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requiring masks to be worn indoors in public settings regardless of vaccination status and city exemptions, through January 15, 2022. Workplaces that are not subject to public visitors should continue to follow current CAL/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards until further notice. CAL/OSHA recommends that all individuals wear face coverings while indoors regardless of vaccination status. Stay tuned for more specific details as they become available, but in the meantime, be prepared to wear your masks again in public places, such as restaurants or during holiday retail shopping.

November 22, 2021

The Hold by the U.S. Court of Appeals Continues the “STAY” on OSHA ETS Mandates

The emergency temporary standard (ETS) mandate requiring private employers with 100 or more employees to require vaccination or weekly testing and masking for their unvaccinated employees has come to a halt until current ligation can be resolved. OSHA has “suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS” due to court order. Employers will no longer be required to implement the ETS requirements until further notice, however, it is strongly recommended for employers to have a prepared plan of action in place should the ETS “stay” be lifted.

November 5, 2021

The New Emergency Temporary Standard Will Force Major Changes

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released an emergency temporary standard (ETS) mandating private employers with 100 or more employees to require vaccination or weekly testing and masking for their unvaccinated employees. The ETS will require covered employers to ensure all unvaccinated employees working in-person begin wearing masks by Dec. 5, 2021, and provide a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis beginning Jan. 4, 2022. The ETS defines “fully vaccinated” as receiving all doses required for a primary vaccination.  For more details, the OSHA fact sheet is available here and OSHA FAQs are available here. There are many standards that need to be met in order for compliance with steep fines ranging from $13,000 to $125,00 for non-compliance! SDHRC’s team of talented HR consultants is here to help!

September 10, 2021

New COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

President Biden announced Thursday he has asked The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to mandate their workforce be fully vaccinated or require any unvaccinated workers to take a COVID test at least once a week. Employers who violate the requirement could face a $14,000 fine per violation. This new mandate is part of a six-pronged plan aimed to aggressively fight COVID-19 and reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans. Biden also signed an executive order requiring all government employees (including employees of contractors who do business with the federal government) to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt-out. The requirement is expected to take effect in the coming weeks and will require employers to provide paid time off for employees to be vaccinated.

August 23, 2021

Full Federal Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

The US Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older. It is believed that with this approval and the rising of COVID -19 cases due to the Delta variant, more organizations will implement a formal vaccine mandate for all employees. Ultimately, organizations still have the option to decide whether to continue to allow employees the choice to be vaccinated. However, those leaning towards requiring all employees to be vaccinated may soon move forward with the mandate to protect their employees and their business. Many businesses have been adversely affected by this pandemic and with no sign of it being over any time soon, this approval could provide the confidence employers needed to issue a company-wide mandate of the vaccine. Businesses are under immense pressure to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for all employees and are working hard to find effective solutions.

July 29, 2021

Proof of Vaccine or Test

Governor Newsom announced California will soon require all healthcare workers and state employees to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or be subjected to weekly testing. This new mandate will go into effect for all state employees on August 2 and healthcare and congregate facilities will take effect on August 9. In addition, President Biden announced that Federal workers will be required to attest to their coronavirus vaccination status or submit to a series of rigorous safety protocols.

Mask on or Mask Off

The CDC has reversed their guidance and now recommends that regardless of vaccination status, masks should be worn indoors where there is substantial or high transmission. The County of San Diego issued a statement and like the CDC, is now recommending that everyone wear a mask indoors.

CAL/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards

The emergency standards apply to most employers in California not covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard. There are many important requirements from the 2020 COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards that remain in effect, such as screening employees prior to entering the workplace (self-checks or employer checks), all employers must document employees vaccine status or all employees should be wearing face masks, employers must provide face coverings to unvaccinated persons and make them available to vaccinated persons upon request, and with some exceptions, all employers and places of employment are required to establish and implement an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) pursuant to the Emergency Temporary Standards in place for COVID-19.

How SDHRC Can Help

With the ever-changing regulations surrounding COVID-19, we know staying on top of your business can be confusing and stressful. At SDHRC we are here to assist you with guidance surrounding COVID-19, reopening plans, workforce planning, employee relations, and much more. Visit our COVID-19 Resources page for more information surrounding COVID-19 and contact us at info@sdhrconsulting.com if you would like to know more or have a specific question. We are always happy to help!”