Cal/OSHA Revised COVID-19 ETS Effective Immediately

After several attempts to revise the outdated Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that took effect November 30, 2020, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board adopted the final revised ETS on the evening of June 17. Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order made the revised ETS take effect as soon as filed with the Secretary of State, which were filed that same night and thus, took effect on June 17. Normally, the ETS would have gone through a 10-day review and approval process through the Office of Administrative Law.

The revised ETS more fully align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) and California Department of Public Health’s guidance for fully vaccinated individuals. Some of the key updates include the following:

  • Fully vaccinated employees are not required to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors, with limited exceptions;
  • Employers must document employees’ vaccination status;
  • Unvaccinated employees must wear face coverings indoors in most situations, but it is only recommended to wear them outdoors when six feet of distancing between individuals is not possible;
  • Physical distancing requirements are eliminated;
  • Employers must provide respirators (N95 masks, for example) to all unvaccinated employees for voluntary use;
  • Employers are not required to exclude fully vaccinated employees from the workplace in the event of a close contact as long as the fully vaccinated employee is symptom-free;
  • Return to work guidelines for employees who had close contact.

Employers should update their COVID-19 Prevention Program, obtain enough N95 masks for unvaccinated employees, provide updated training to employees, and document employees’ vaccination status. Members with questions on the revised ETS can contact the California Legal Services team at