California state regulators reverse controversial workplace mask rule after protests from business groups

California state regulators reverse controversial workplace mask rule after protests from business groups

A server tends to customers in an outdoor dining area amid the COVID-19 pandemic on The Promenade Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Santa Monica, Calif. (AP) That rule, from the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, would have allowed workers in nearly all settings to forgo masks only in circumstances where everyone in a room had been vaccinated against COVID-19. If just one person was not vaccinated, everyone would have been required to wear a mask. 

That contrasted with the state’s broader plan to do away with virtually all masking and social distancing requirements for vaccinated people, which more aligns with the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The safety board’s staff was not specific on what changes it will recommend at its scheduled meeting next week, other than it will try to conform more closely with public health guidelines.

Wednesday night’s board meeting was attended by members of the public, workers, industry leaders, and employers who voiced their complaints during more than two hours of public comment.  Helen Cleary, director of the Phylmar Regulatory Roundtable, said the back-and-forth on state workplace regulations has created an atmosphere of confusion. 

The board initially rejected the mask place regulation before giving it the go-ahead in early June – a decision that prompted anger from business advocacy groups that said it would place an undue burden on employers.  CLICK HERE TO Read Additional From FOX BUSINESS

A dozen business groups and organizations representing manufacturers, farmers, tourism interests and other industries sent a letter to Newsom asking him to rescind the board’s regulations ahead of Wednesday night’s reversal.  “Employers cannot plan with this high level of uncertainty,” she said in a statement. “We are disappointed and frustrated with the confusion, the process, the substance and the lack of leadership.”

The board’s controversial workplace decision comes as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a likely recall election, brought about by discontent over his handling of the pandemic.  Requiring masks unless all are vaccinated in a workplace would “create yet another barrier to rehiring and reopening” at a time when “we need to be providing incentives to bring people back,” they said.  OSHA ISSUES COVID-19 ‘EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD’ FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS

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