SACRAMENTO (AP) – Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Friday afternoon that repeals most of California’s coronavirus rules.
The order signed by Newsom goes into effect on Tuesday. It will end the state stay-at-home order introduced at the beginning of the pandemic to protect Californians and withdraw the tiered, color-coded draft for a safer economy.
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“Effective June 15, restrictions such as physical distancing, capacity limits and the county tier system will end,” said a press release issued by the Newsom office.
In addition, fully vaccinated individuals can avoid wearing masks in most locations.
Newsom said it will not end the nationwide declaration of emergency. This ensures that the governor has the power to change or suspend state laws in the future. This has angered Republican lawmakers who say the statement is unnecessary.
Earlier on Friday, Newsom said he was confident that its workplace regulators will soon comply with California’s plan to lift virtually all masking and social distancing requirements for people vaccinated against the coronavirus next week.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will consider revising its conflicting rules Thursday, two days after the state generally eased its pandemic restrictions.
“I expect and am determined to have a positive outcome when they meet,” Newsom said of the site committee he appointed. “We’re going to get where we need to go and I have all the confidence in the world that we’ll get there next week.”
Newsom said he expected action by the executive branch to be taken to ensure that site regulations go into effect sooner than the 10-day administrative law review, which would normally postpone the entry into force of the new regulations to at least June 28.
He left open whether he also wants to bridge the remaining potential gap of a few days between the lifting of the state’s orders on Tuesday and the board meeting on Thursday. Unless he takes action, the currently more restrictive workplace rules will remain in effect during this time window.
These applicable regulations require all workers, vaccinated or not, to remain masked and physically distant when working. The regulations apply to almost every job in the state, including workers in offices, factories, and retail outlets.
The confusing, contradicting rules have led corporate groups to urge the governor to use his executive powers to override the board of directors. Some have asked him to completely repeal the board’s emergency pandemic rules and allow the California Department of Occupational Health and Safety, known as Cal / OSHA, to rely on its underlying authority to oblige employers to keep workplaces safe provide.
Newsom responded that the revised proposed regulations, released by Cal / OSHA on Friday, align California workplace rules with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will be largely adopted by the state as of Tuesday. The board will take up the proposal on Thursday.
“I expect your actions will be consistent with the CDC, but you have to make that decision. And I want to respect that process. If I didn’t, that would open us appropriately to criticism, and I want to do justice to this deliberative process, ”he said.
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Newsom added that following the decision of the board of directors, he would act if necessary “to clarify any ambiguities”.
At a hastily scheduled special meeting earlier this week, the board lifted conflicting rules that it had passed just a week ago.
But the rapid back and forth left companies baffled by the changing rules about who must wear masks and where the country’s largest state fully reopened on Tuesday after the pandemic.
That led some business leaders to urge Newsom to step in and only enact a set of mask rules for the 40 million people in California.
“We asked the governor to issue an approximation ordinance,” said Lucy Dunn, president and chief executive officer of Orange County Business Council. “Otherwise it’s just terribly confusing.”
With vaccinations spike and coronavirus cases low, California will end most mask rules for vaccinated individuals on June 15, while face coverings will continue to be required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public spaces and businesses. Some places like public transportation and indoor school classes require everyone to remain masked.
Under the system, companies can rely on an honor system that expects customers to wear a mask if they are not vaccinated but are not required to provide evidence.
“The publication of this guide, which clearly requires people and requires the person to confirm their vaccine status by wearing or not wearing a mask, will be the way – an approved way – to comply with these updates.” Mark Ghaly, California’s Minister of Health and Social Affairs, this week. According to Ghaly, companies can also request vaccine verification or face covers if they so choose.
Robert Moutrie, a proponent of politics with the California Chamber of Commerce, said the board’s decision to revise the rules was welcome, but more changes were needed. For example, the board also opposes a proposal to require employers to provide the most effective N95 masks for voluntary use by unvaccinated employees working indoors or at large outdoor events, saying it would be costly and compete with the needs of the Health workers.
“California needs constancy on its way to opening on June 15th,” Moutrie said in a statement.
Derrick Seaver, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Organization, said companies were struggling with a patchwork of approaches and a lack of policy consistency during the pandemic. However, he believes the state is moving in the right direction by trying to align with CDC’s guidelines on face coverings, and he said companies are glad they weren’t on the hook to check the wearing of masks or enforce.
“By allowing these individuals to self-certify, we are allowing them to apparently accept some degree of personal responsibility for that certification,” said Seaver. “From a business perspective, that frees them from the sensitive reporting and privacy issues” associated with vaccine delivery.
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