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CAL OSHA rescinds its original decision to enact strict masking guidelines

Those guidelines would have conflicted with the masking guidance provided by the CDC, which does not require vaccinated people to wear a mask in most settings

SAN DIEGO — CAL OSHA voted Wednesday night to rescind the decision it made last week, a decision which would have enacted much stricter masking rules in the workplace, after hearing from dozens of passionate Californians at a special meeting. 

That decision would have allowed workers to go maskless only if every employee in a room is already vaccinated.

If even one person is not vaccinated, according to CAL OSHA's ruling on June 3, then everyone would have to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.

"This is putting a speed bump on the road to re-opening," complained one caller. "This will increase public doubt and erode public trust."

Speaker after speaker at Wednesday's virtual meeting blasted the original CAL OSHA board decision, calling on its members to rescind it.

"These proposed rules on face coverings will pit employees against each other based on vaccination status," said one speaker. 

"It will cause workers to resent their employers intruding on some of their private decisions," added another. 

"We are all going to be confused as to when we do and when we don't have to wear coverings," one woman charged. 

These regulations approved last week by CAL OSHA conflict with Governor Gavin Newsom's plan to follow federal  CDC guidance on mask-wearing in the workplace starting June 15.

Those guidelines would do away with essentially all social-distancing requirements and drop the mask requirement for everyone who is vaccinated, while those who are unvaccinated would still be required to wear a facial covering in indoor public settings and businesses.

It was not lost on some callers Wednesday night that this conflict over workplace mask regulations comes at an especially politically charged time for Newsom.

"This will fuel the recall," one speaker said, "so the recall people will thank you if you require this.'

Wednesday night's decision leaves in place the original masking rules we've been living with since last year. 

CAL OSHA will be meeting next Thursday, June 17, two days after the state's re-opening, when they will have the chance to vote on adopting guidelines in accordance with the CDC.