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CRA President and CEO Rachel Michelin Responds to Cal/OSHA’s Latest Actions on Workplace Regulations

California Retailers Association President Rachel Michelin issued the following statement in response to Cal/OSHA’s latest actions on COVID-19 workplace regulations. 

“California retailers welcome the full re-opening of California’s economy on June 15th and applaud Governor Newsom as we move “Beyond the Blueprint” on June 15th and align with the CDC when it comes to face coverings and social distancing. We appreciate the Cal/OSHA board rescinding the recommendations they approved on June 3rd in consideration of aligning their employer regulations with the CDC, California Department of Public Health and Governor in terms of vaccinated employees. 

Retailers have been at the forefront of ensuring our employees and customers are safe and retailers are proud that retail was the first industry, even before the State of California, to require face coverings when entering a store, both for our employees and our customers. Now, we join with the Governor and the California Department of Public Health in following the CDC recommendations, including their clear guidance that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear face coverings and urge Cal/OSHA to follow the science and CDC recommendations for vaccinated employees.   

It is vital that all agencies be on the same page. Unfortunately, throughout the pandemic there have been issues with different authorities sending mixed signals to the public and to employers. This confusion presents an obstacle in reopening our economy and increases the mental anguish on Californians in the workplace setting.    

We applaud Cal/OSHA in rescinding the June 3rd amendments to the ETS, that required even fully vaccinated employees MUST wear a face covering if there is ANYONE inside the room that is not fully vaccinated. As a practical matter, this would have required many store employees to wear facemasks regardless of vaccination status. Under these rules, vaccinated employees could finish their shifts, walk outside, re-enter the store as customers and not be required to wear a face covering. These and other inconsistent rules inevitably would have led to confusion, pitted employees against each other in the workplace and would have made our reopening much more complicated.     

We encourage the Board to listen to the public testimony of employees who urged the Board to align with the current CDC guidance as well as the state and local governments on face coverings – and not require fully vaccinated employees to wear a face mask. California’s businesses have done their part to move our state past the COVID pandemic, now it is time for the Board to do theirs – provide simplicity, clarity and consistency in joining the Governor, CDPH and local jurisdictions in following the science and complying with CDC guidance.” 

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