Coronavirus

California Backs Off Plan To Force Workers To Keep Masking Up

The state is going to "reopen" June 15. That includes ending most mask mandates for vaccinated people.

|

California's work regulatory agency is backing down from a plan that would have forced many people across the state to keep wearing masks at work even if they've been vaccinated.

In five days, California is finally supposed to "reopen." Vaccinated residents will finally be able to go most places without wearing masks or engaging in social distancing.

This is already the case in many states, in compliance with recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has used his broad emergency powers to delay the change.

Reopening is supposed to mean an end to state-ordered mask mandates for those who have been vaccinated. But California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted a rule on June 4 that said employees could go unmasked only if everybody else in the room has been vaccinated and isn't showing symptoms. The rule would also have required businesses to keep records of people's vaccinations.

This is not a reasonable expectation for a workplace. Forcing everybody to wear masks if some people choose not to get vaccinated is simply not a good policy. And forcing a business to maintain vaccination records clearly violates employees' privacy.

Businesses balked—imagine having to police all this under threat of punishment by the state—and the board reconsidered. On Wednesday, the board unanimously agreed to withdraw the rule it had just passed. We don't know quite yet what will replace it, but Chairman David Thomas promised that whatever comes will be designed "so that it matches up with the CDC and the California Department of Public Health, so that we're all on the same page."

If they do, in fact, "follow the science" here, then vaccinated folks will not be required to wear masks at work. And that's obviously how it should be.

The state will, unfortunately, maintain some other masking regulations. The Associated Press reports that "everyone must remain masked" in "public transit, indoor school classes, in health care and correctional facilities, and in places like homeless shelters and cooling centers."

The same articles notes that "Individual businesses are also free to require everyone to remain masked under the general rules, he said." But that part's fine. States have bounced between forcing private business to adopt strict COVID policies (as California is doing until June 15) and forcing them not to (Texas and Florida have forbidden private businesses from asking for proof of vaccination). Better to let businesses assess their own risks.

NEXT: The Fed's Digital Dollar Would Be 'Nightmareville' for Privacy

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. California Backs Off Plan To Force Workers To Keep Masking Up

    Another victim of the right wing backlash.

    1. Workers Pounce.

      1. THIS is what the recall is for. We’re not going to get anyone other than another hack democrat if Newsome is recalled. That’s not the point. The point is leverage.

        From the linked KTLA article:

        >“The public doesn’t draw a distinction between this board and the rest of the Newsom administration,” Michael Miiller, California Association of Winegrape Growers government relations director, told board members before the vote. “What they hear is the Newsom administration say that wearing masks at work may be here to stay.”

        The meeting last week had EVERYONE opposed to cal/OSHA’s rules except for unions. OSHA capitulated to the unions. Without the sword of Damocles over the governor’s head we’d be wearing masks and doing the Teacher’s union bidding forever.

        1. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
          on this page…..VISIT HERE

    2. By right wing backlash, I assume you mean following the constitution and not violating people’s privacy rights under HIPA? Sometimes freedom is just freedom. “The Science” is now showing that most, if not all, of the restrictions put in place to curb the pandemic were of little or no utility. You can voluntarily trade your freedom for (false) security, but I will not.

      1. I guess for a new commenter it really isn’t easy to tell.

  2. f they do, in fact, “follow the science” here, then vaccinated folks will not be required to wear masks at work. And that’s obviously how it should be.

    What will the passport look like that allows this to actually occur?

    1. Hopefully not those flimsy cards they stamped and then told us not to laminate

  3. If they do, in fact, “follow the science” here, then vaccinated folks will not be required to wear masks at work. And that’s obviously how it should be.

    Yes, the new narrative. Exception I’ve yet to see a reasonable “science” based argument for why unvaccinated people should be segregated given current vaccination availability.

    1. Exactly.

      Get a free vaccine. Get immunity the old fashioned way. (anti-)Social distance, wear a mask everywhere, or just hope you get lucky. Whatever. You choose.

      For me, it doesn’t matter in the slightest because I’m confident that the risk of Covid to me is acceptably small, even if someone has the undetectable ‘rona.

      Anyone who thinks it matters either doesn’t understand risk (for immune people Covid is a TINY risk. Like hit by lightning tiny, statistically) or is just a busybody.

  4. (Texas and Florida have forbidden private businesses from asking for proof of vaccination).

    Wasn’t this discussed and discovered that Texas has in fact not done any such thing?

    1. Texas has absolutely done that. I live there. Abbott has been bragging about it.

      1. Good, the only reason to insist customers are vaccinated is for liability reasons. So you put up a sign that says vaccinated do not need to wear a mask and your part is done. Those that are afraid of the virus can wear a mask, the rest of us can move on with our lives that even in the worst case scenario you have a 95 percent chance of survival.

  5. It’s hilarious to read that people are still wearing masks. What a mass delusion.

    1. I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE…says the vaccinated mask wearer.

        1. It is simple physics. The mask absorbs some of the expectorant from the wearer so that it doesn’t go into the atmosphere. It doesn’t block all of it. It doesn’t absorb every drop. Most of us know this empirically now, if you have worn a cloth mask for any length of time. After a while you can see where the mask has absorbed the droplets of fluid. I am perplexed at what point we went to “masks are an imperfect barrier to virus transmission”, all the way to “masks don’t stop everything therefore science says they’re useless”.

          1. It doesn’t block most of it

            1. Blocking some is better than none.

              1. And what about the pile of nasty breath droplets it collects which naughty fingers redistribute when people constantly fiddle with the nasty things?

                What about the nasty hot humid petri incubation dish you’ve got strapped to your mouth, and how you raise your voice and send some of those germs flying into the face of the person who is leaning closer to hear you better because the damned masks muffle your voice?

                1. My own germs won’t make me sick.

                  And there’s this modern invention called the washing machine. Like its name suggests, it washes things and makes them clean and kills germs. Masks can be washed.

                  1. So you haven’t read the studies about masks being great breeding grounds for viruses and mor than quadrupleing the viral load?

                    1. Nobody can spread a virus they don’t have.
                      The masks are purely psychological manipulation.
                      Fuck totalitarians, and their allies/useful idiots.

                  2. Are you of the impression a washing machine adds a barrier of protection that maintains virus free performance for hours after a wash?

                  3. They are not ‘your’ germs; they are just germs. Particles containing viruses must attach deep in your lungs to infect you and the 5 micron particle size optimum. Larger than that, the get stuck in the throat or bronchial tubes and come out as phlegm or expectoration. Smaller and you exhale them out before they can attach. When they saturate the inside of your mask, you are giving them more opportunities to attach if the first attempt was unsuccessful. Kind of like Russian roulette, I’ll pass.

                2. I guess the real argument here is that “masks don’t work to stop virus transmission because people don’t use them right”. And if that’s the case, then that is a people problem, not a mask problem.

                  1. I guess the real argument here is that “masks don’t work to stop virus transmission because people don’t use them right”.
                    You guessed wrong.

              2. Not in any statistically significant amount.that’s like saying I can stab you 1000 times in the torso but the first ont you blocked with your hand made a huge difference

                1. That is an incredibly stupid analogy, that is not at all how virus transmission works. And you are just complaining that masks aren’t 100% effective. You’re right, they are not. Helmets and seat belts aren’t 100% effective either but they are better than not wearing helmets and not wearing seat belts.

                  1. Old tee shirts strapped on your face will not protect anybody from anything.

                  2. Your fear is the only thing incredibly stupid here. Well besides you wanting to force people to wear masks.

                  3. They aren’t 1% effective Harvard medical says tk wear them because it makes people feel better. Not because it stops wuflu

                  4. A fart goes through two layers of cloth, unless you go “commando”.
                    The odor molecules are bigger than a virus.
                    Are you trying to say your farts don’t smell?

              3. Not if you’re also trapping in other things that your body wants out. There is pretty good evidence that masks, as they were commonly worn for the last year, did considerable harm to the wearers. Whether that harm was less than the good of blocking covid is a valid question. But given what we know quite clearly about covid transmission by the vaccinated, the cost-benefit is much more strongly skewed to the harm now.

                1. I’m not arguing in favor of a mask mandate now. Back at the height of this mess nobody knew anything with close to certainty, so masks made sense in the spirit of “adding to the odds in my favor”. Just like staying home did.

                  Now that vaccines have broken the back of the pandemic, it’s time to move on, particularly for those vaccinated. People that aren’t vaccinated are taking risks that they don’t seem to comprehend but I’m vaccinated so I don’t care.

                  1. Back at the height of this mess nobody knew anything with close to certainty,

                    Not true. People have been studying masks and airborne viruses for a century.

                  2. ” Just like staying home did.”
                    The stats say most transmissions happened at home.

              4. Driving 15 mph as a top speed saves lives. You first.

              5. A screen door on a submarine will bock some of the water too.

            2. Okay, and?

              1. What other liberties do you give up for a mere appearance of safety?

                Again. You losing 100 lbs would do far more to lower your risks than me wearing a mask.

          2. Asymptomatic people don’t spread the virus retard.

  6. Still can’t speak about the lack of crisis in places that are open and dropped the masks months ago?

    1. Just because we’re playing “follow the science” doesn’t mean we start throwing out babies with bathwater. After all, 80% of Americans believe that throwing babies out should sometimes be illegal.

      1. It’s California. You can’t throw out that bathwater. Water is precious here. I suggest you wash in it a few more times. Then you create a nice cistern and use it to water your organic herb garden.

        1. Now, babies…

          1. It’s California. You can’t throw out that baby. Babies are precious here. I suggest you wash in it a few more times. Then you create a nice cistern and use it to water your organic herb garden.

            Kind of eerie.

        2. And fertilize the herb garden with recycled copies of the Sacramento Bee

  7. Can I play this game too?
    California may still require masks, some skeptics disagree saying Wuhan virus is less than 50% lethal

  8. Alt text – now you can sound like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets!

  9. And what about the survivors of COVID? You know, the ones who are immune “naturally”, and the effect of a vaccine on them has not been studied? What about them? What about those who medically cannot receive the (unapproved, experimental!) vaccine and cannot wear masks? Who has liability for any future effects of being vaccinated?
    The science says the masks are ineffective in public settings.

    1. The science says the masks are ineffective in public settings. for stopping the transmission of viruses.

      1. The science says the masks are ineffective in public settings. for stopping the transmission of viruses.

        The pores in masks are too large to stop naked virus particles. That is absolutely correct.
        But you won’t find naked virus particles in a person’s breath. They will be in droplets of fluid. And masks can stop some droplets of fluid from reaching the other side.

        1. Again, see my response above. No one is arguing that a mask might help stop the spread of viruses contained in droplets under any circumstances whatsoever.

          The issue is the demand by state agencies that you mask up, always, everywhere, including when you’re alone on a barren plain, riding your horse in the great outdoors.

          I’m not even going to get into the “general” outdoors, in sunlight, or long term mask wearing (all day sitting in the office) while exactly 100% of the people I see wearing masks are occasionally dropping them to their chin, handling them with their hands, breathing into them until they’re completely damp, again handling with hands, improperly fitted to face… I can go on.

          The general “mask guidelines” were nothing but pandemic theater, but yes, in controlled circumstances and in laboratory conditions, a cloth medical mask can reduce virus shedding.

          1. The issue is the demand by state agencies that you mask up, always, everywhere, including when you’re alone on a barren plain, riding your horse in the great outdoors.

            I agree, that is stupid.

        2. Wow. You just exude lysenkoism.

          Even when staring at global data sets showing no correlation between infections and mask policy, you persist.

        3. The virus travels on vapor, not droplets. Vapor travels through cloth.

  10. Waiting for people to freak when when a business chooses to require masks. “Muh rights! they will scream as they pee on the floor of Wal-Mart.

    Go do your shopping somewhere else you idjit.

    1. Some businesses have made the choice to require masks. And in every case I know about, most of their customers did take their shopping elsewhere. They also were vocal about making sure that the business’s employees knew why they were taking their business elsewhere – and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

    2. Eat a bullet, idiot.

    3. The issue has never been a single business mandating masks you fucking moron. It has been about collusive efforts to force all business to adopt said regulations.

    4. It only takes one to break the ice, first the Walmart stopped requiring masks, HEB stopped for a day and then put them back in place and Kroger never dropped theirs. A week later and a drop in foot traffic and low and behold HEB and Kroger suddenly decided the mask were not necessary anymore. Thing is nobody threw a tantrum they just took their business elsewhere. And that there my friends is why there is a push to keep the mask mandates, businesses that want to force the masks on customers don’t want to go broke because they have a choice.

      This by the way is what Jim Crowe was about, not about businesses choosing not to serve all races but forcing them to segregate whether they liked it or not because those that did start to lose business while those that did not were raking it in. The case sited most, the Woolworths counter for instance. Woolworth was a New York based company, think they cared who sat at the lunch counter? Same thing here, that more than any mandates from the Government is going to end these mask requirements to enter a business, and those who want to keep the mandates in place will push the governments to require them.

  11. “Follow the science”.

    STOP!!! PLEASE STOP!!!

    It’s time to recognize that a political entity/regulatory body isn’t going to use science as their guidepost. Hell, the CDC can’t do it and they’re chock full of doctors. It’s not possible because politics ruins objectivity and science requires it. So stop acting like it’s possible. And every time in the future that a politician refers to it they need to be laughed out of the room. It’s our only hope.

  12. If you are vaccinated what do you care if others are not vaccinated and the unvaccinated don’t care so why bother with a mask mandates at all there are no more surges and even past surges may have been a lie by at least 25%

    1. Exactly this. If unvaccinated people want to risk getting each other sick that’s their business.

    2. I would love to see the cdc apply the same rules for rates of wuflu between Vax and unvax, and apply it retroactively.
      Namely if you have the vaccine then get the wuflu (I know 4 people this has happened to) but aren’t hospitalized they don’t count it as being positive. I would love to see that applied to the rest of the numbers

      1. If I understand what you’re asking, I believe that someone did exactly that and determined that by the guidelines of a “pandemic” we never would have had one.

        1. We probably didn’t have a pandemic, but getting rid of The Bad Orange Man was worth propagating the Big Lie.
          That’s what this was all about.

      2. Namely if you have the vaccine then get the wuflu (I know 4 people this has happened to)
        So the vaccine is useless.
        Or it didn’t really happen to the 4 people you know.

        1. They had very mild symptoms, but did test positive

  13. “Cooling center”?

  14. Unless Cal/OSHA wants to dispute the science behind the CDC’s rules, then why do they even need to come up with their own?
    Oh that’s right. Stinking bureaucrats are only good at creating unnecessary rules and paperwork.

  15. The easiest answer by management is “No”. They cannot take any risk. Simply spineless leadership. Where I work they finally dropped the masks for the vaccinated. Nowhere do I need a mask anymore and even the signs that are still up at stores are ignored. I am traveling for the next two weeks (South Dakota and Mexico) so I might get stuck with wearing a mask on a plane though.

    1. “Might”

      I flew Memorial Day weekend. You’ll wear a mask from the time you get on whatever shuttle is going to take you to the airport through security and the flight until you get in whatever takes you away from the airport.

      1. It’s totally ridiculous.

Please to post comments