If you are a business leader starting to bring employees back into the office, there are some specific Public Health Department guidelines you need to follow. These may vary according to your business location and where your employees actually perform their work. Also, the state, county, city and CalOSHA all have guidelines. If these guidelines differ, the more restrictive ones prevail.
Santa Clara County issued a new health order effective May 19, 2021. If your business is in Santa Clara County or you have employees or volunteers who regularly work at worksites in the County, be sure that you comply with these guidelines. We’ve listed a few of them below. For more information, read the full health order.
- Employers must require that employees immediately notify them if they test positive for COVID-19 and were present in the workplace within 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms (or the date when they were tested) or within 10 days after the onset of symptoms (or the date when they were tested if they were asymptomatic).
- Employers must ascertain the vaccination status of all personnel who perform any work at a facility or worksite in the county within 14 days of this order (by June 1, 2021). Personnel includes employees, contractors, volunteers, and anyone who regularly works at worksites in the County.
- Personnel who decline to provide vaccination status are to be treated as unvaccinated. After the initial request, businesses must follow up every 14 days with all personnel who were not fully vaccinated to determine their status.
- Employers must require unvaccinated personnel to wear masks, maintain the appropriate physical distance, and comply with all other County health guidelines for unvaccinated individuals.
- Employers are also required to provide unvaccinated personnel with information on how to get vaccinated.
- All employers must maintain appropriate records to demonstrate compliance. Non-compliance may result in fines of up to $5,000 per violation per day.
Per the County FAQs, compliance with the vaccination/recordkeeping requirement takes just a few steps:
- Provide staff members a copy of the one-page Self-Certification form the County has provided to assist businesses in meeting this requirement. It should take employees no more than a minute or two to fill out the form.
- Collect the forms and store them in the same way you store confidential employee information like documents requesting medical leave, reasonable accommodations, etc.
- Provide employees who are not vaccinated or declined to state whether they are vaccinated an information sheet on vaccination, which is available here.
Click here for the Santa Clara County Public Health Order FAQs.
If you are based in San Francisco or have employees working in San Francisco, check out these guidelines from the San Francisco Department of Health.
Learn about the State of California guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals here.
CalOSHA is in the process of revising their COVID-19 prevention guidelines (ETS), which may be stricter than those issued by California and the CDC. These will not be finalized until later this month. The revisions include updates to face coverings, physical distancing and other prevention measures for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers. The ETS applies to most workers in California. We suggest you visit their FAQ which will have more details on the proposed changes once they are approved and adopted later in June.
Disclaimer: Because information and guidelines continue to evolve, it’s essential for leaders to keep an eye out for the latest guidelines from the state, CalOSHA, and the city and county where you have personnel performing work, as defined above.
Also, if you have questions about your particular situation, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from your legal counsel.
Please reach out to me at email@example.com if you need help creating a return-to-work plan.