SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With state health officials announcing Wednesday that Californians fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can go most places without a mask starting June 15--when the state fully reopens and aligns with CDC mask guidance--businesses now have new challenges.
California Health and Human Services Agency secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly says businesses have three choices when it comes to enforcing the new mask rules that differ for those fully vaccinated and those who are not:
- Have customers self-attest that they are fully vaccinated by entering a business without a mask
- Require proof of vaccination to allow customers to enter without a mask
- Require all customers to wear a mask
Tri-County Produce owner John Dixon has tried to make his grocery store a place where people feel comfortable shopping during the pandemic. Just last month he stopped a policy that required all customers to put on a pair of store-provided plastic gloves while shopping.
Now the mask mandate may disappear next week. Dixon does not yet know how the store will enforce the new mask rules, but he is considering the self-attest system.
“You know, my hope is with all customers that everybody will just get along," he said. "Nobody’s gonna ridicule somebody for not wearing a mask or wearing a mask. Just respect, and like we said, be on the 'honor system' that everybody’s doing the right thing.”
Workplace mask rules are still in flux.
On Wednesday, state regulators with California's Division Of Occupational Safety & Health (Cal/OSHA) revoked changes that they made last week that had allowed people to remove masks at work if everyone in a room is vaccinated. Now, everyone at work must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
That change is a procedural move to set up another update to take the state's new health guidance into account.
New workplace mask rules are expected to be introduced at Cal/OSHA's next meeting, scheduled for Thursday, June 17.