L.A. County details workplace virus precautions ahead of June 15 reopening

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As Los Angeles County prepares for a wide reopening in alignment with state standard’s on June 15, health officials on Monday gave more insight into which COVID-19 safety measures people can expect at workplaces.

The Cal/OSHA standards board last week recommended relaxing physical distancing and masking requirements for fully vaccinated workers, and other adjustments to align with the state’s reopening path. If approved within the next 10 days, Dr. Muntu Davis, the Los Angeles County health officer, said they are expected to go into effect no later than June 15.

Included in the Cal/OSHA recommendations are the following:

  • For indoors settings, all workers must be masked regardless of vaccination status. However, face coverings are not required when a person is working alone, or when all people in a room have been fully vaccinated and do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Those working outside or 6 feet away from others who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms can work unmasked regardless of vaccinations. For those who are working at “outdoor mega events,” or at venues with more than 10,000 attendees, masks will be required.
  • Physical distancing, partitions and barriers at indoor work spaces and at outdoor mega events will no longer be required and can be eliminated by employers if respirators, such as N95s, are provided to unvaccinated employees for voluntary use.
  • After July 31, health officials said physical distancing and barriers will no longer be required, except during outbreaks, if all unvaccinated employees are offered respirators for voluntary use.
  • Fully vaccinated workers who do not have COVID-19 symptoms will no longer need to be excluded from the workplace after a close contact with someone showing symptoms.

Davis said the recommendations may still be revised in the coming weeks, and expects there to be an adjustment period.

“I think this adjustment from June 15 will take some folks some time to feel comfortable as we continue to see what happens with cases,” Davis said.

L.A. County is continuing its downward trend in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, with Davis saying case numbers and other metrics are “low and stable.” On Monday, the county reported three additional deaths and 134 new cases of COVID-19.

As of June 4, L.A. County has administered more than 9.6 million doses of the vaccine. L.A. County officials said 65% of residents 16 and older have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 54% of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

“We understand that everyone is at a different stage in their health journey,” Davis said. “And there are folks who have not yet determined that vaccination against COVID-19 is the right thing for them, or who can not get the vaccine for medical reasons.”

To those people who are unvaccinated, Davis recommended wearing masks, limiting socialization to smaller, outdoor gatherings and keeping indoor visits short.

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