Regulators withdraw controversial California work mask rules
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s workplace regulators have withdrawn a controversial pending mask regulation while they consider a rule that more closely aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s promise that the state will fully reopen from the pandemic on Tuesday.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board’s revised rule, adopted last week after it was initially rejected, would have allowed workers to forego masks only if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. That contrasts with the state’s broader plan to do away with virtually all masking and social distancing requirements for vaccinated people in concert with the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The board's decision late Wednesday to withdraw that worksite rule before it goes into effect allows the board to consider changes at its June 17 meeting and potentially have them go into effect by month’s end.
But some business leaders on Wednesday kept up their pressure on Newsom to override the board.
“After the confusion and lack of clarity on reopening guidelines at the Cal/OSHA hearing tonight, the statewide business community must once again request the governor issue an Executive Order before June 15 to provide all employers with the consistency and certainty in guidelines,” Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, said in a statement after the vote. That, he said, "will be the catalyst for a full economic reopening and create a powerful incentive to get even more Californians vaccinated.”
The goal of the unanimous vote, said board chairman David Thomas, is to change the workplace regulation “so that it matches up with the CDC and the California Department of Public Health, so that we’re all on the...