California Santa Clara issues new health ordinance and guidelines
On May 19, 2021, Santa Clara County went from orange level to yellow level in California’s color-coded reopening plan. Entering the yellow level allows the county to expand the capacity of businesses, gymnasiums, cinemas, restaurants and other domestic operations. Coinciding with the yellow crossing, the county issued a new Santa Clara County Health Officer Order Establishing Targeted Safety Measures to Protect Community From COVID-19. This ordinance comes into force on May 19, 2021.
The new decree (and the directives and guidelines to which it refers) requires employers to:
Determine immunization status by June 1, 2021 all personnel (including employees, contractors, suppliers, volunteers and all others who regularly provide on-site services) who perform work at their facility or yard in the county;
As expected, the Order is also ending the home work mandate previously in place in Santa Clara County, which required all companies to maximize the number of people working remotely. Finally, the decree states that a fully vaccinated workplace will not be required to wear masks indoors or follow social distancing guidelines, but mixed vaccinated staff will have to follow more complex restrictions. This is, however, subject to the California / Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Temporary Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Standards and California Department of Public Health guidelines on the use of face covers, which continue. to require face coverings in the workplace. . We anticipate changes to these requirements in the near future, but for now, employers should continue to require face protection in the workplace.
Order does not impose a mandatory vaccination requirement.
The new ordinance requires a reference to other ordinances / guidelines / guidelines, including the mandatory guideline on the use of face masks, the mandatory guideline for unvaccinated personnel and guidelines from the California Department of Public Health (CRPD ) for the use of face masks. Therefore, employers should be very careful when navigating the complexities associated with complying with the New Order.
In the ordinance, the county recognizes that “[t]The public health threat of COVID-19 is decreasing in the county, “but warns that” COVID-19 continues to pose a risk, particularly to residents of Santa Clara County who are not fully vaccinated. Therefore, certain security measures are necessary to protect against cases and deaths of COVID-19.
WHO IS THE ORDER APPLICABLE TO?
This order applies to “[a]all individuals, businesses and other entities of the county ”, and it requires that“ persons who do not currently reside in the county must comply with all applicable requirements of the ordinance while in the county. This includes employers of all sizes, including those who work remotely or in person.
For the purposes of this Order, an employer’s “staff” is defined as employees, contractors, subcontractors, independent contractors (such as “on-call workers” who perform work through the a company’s application or other online interfaces, vendors who sell merchandise on site, volunteers and any other people who regularly provide on-site services at the company’s request.
WHAT DOES THE ORDER REQUIRE?
The Order requires and encourages the following:
Activities encouraged to take place outdoors. Businesses and government entities “should consider moving operations and activities outside” where the risk of transmission is low, especially if customers are unlikely to be vaccinated. For restaurants with outdoor seating, for example, the continued availability of outdoor seating would be important, especially if customers are unlikely to be vaccinated.
Reporting of COVID-19 contracting personnel. Businesses and government entities should require their staff to immediately alert the business or government entity if they test positive for COVID-19 and have been in the workplace (1) within 48 hours before onset of symptoms or within 10 days of onset of symptoms if they were asymptomatic, or (2) within 48 hours of the date they were tested or within 10 days of the day they were been tested if they were asymptomatic. If the business or government entity becomes aware of a confirmed positive case within this time frame, that entity is required to report the case within 24 hours to the County Public Health Department at the following address: https://covid19.sccgov.org/business-guidance#employee.
Verification of staff immunization status. Businesses and government entities are obligatory to determine the immunization status of all staff (which includes employees, on-site contractors and volunteers) who perform work at their facility or yard in the county and they are also encouraged (but not required) to determine the immunization status of all other staff (such as remote workers). Until status is determined, staff should be treated as unvaccinated. Those who refuse to provide their immunization status should also be treated as unvaccinated. Businesses and government entities must complete the vaccination status assessment of their staff within 14 days of the effective date (May 19, 2021) of this Ordinance, or June 1, 2021. Businesses and entities Governments must also maintain documents (such as self-certification forms) to demonstrate that they comply with this provision. Employers can choose to use the Self-certification of vaccination status form for the purpose of verifying the immunization status of their employees. For more information on verifying the immunization status of staff, employers should consult the Faq on checking immunization status.
Social distancing protocols. Businesses and government entities no longer need to submit their social distancing protocols to the county public health department; however, they must continue to comply with requirements imposed by Cal / OSHA’s COVID-19 emergency prevention regulations, which have not yet lifted the physical distancing requirement but are expected to do so soon. Employers are required to adhere to the more stringent of the two requirements. Currently, Cal / OHSA does not differentiate on the basis of a person’s immunization status for physical distancing requirements.
Rules for staff who are not fully immunized. For those who are not fully vaccinated (or who do not disclose their vaccination status), they should:
Above all, this decree does not impose a compulsory vaccination requirement on employers. Additionally, fully vaccinated staff in a workplace will not be required to wear masks indoors or follow social distancing or quarantine guidelines, subject to Temporary Emergency COVID-19 prevention standards. Californiat / OSHA and California Department of Public Health guidelines for facial use. Coverings, which still require the use of face coverings in the workplace. However, we anticipate that changes to this requirement will follow soon.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER DIRECTIVES AND ORDERING REFERENCES REQUIRED?
the Mandatory health worker directive on the use of face masks obliges all businesses and government entities to follow the CRPD Tips for using face coverings. The CRPD guidelines set out the following rules for face coverings:
Fully vaccinated. For fully vaccinated people, face covers are not needed outdoors, except when the person is attending crowded outdoor events. As further defined in the CRPD Advice for fully vaccinated people, a fully vaccinated person can (1) visit, without wearing a mask or physical separation, other fully vaccinated people indoors or outdoors (outside of a workplace), and (2) visit , without a mask or physical distance, unvaccinated people from a single household at low risk of severe COVID-19 illness indoors and outdoors.
Indoor parameters (regardless of vaccination status). In indoor environments outside a person’s home, including on public transportation, face masks are needed regardless of a person’s immunization status.
Finally, the Mandatory health worker guideline for unvaccinated staff Requires businesses and government entities to ensure that all people not fully immunized:
Who are in “close contact” with a confirmed case, or who have been confirmed to have COVID-19, be excluded from the workplace for the period of quarantine and / or isolation and
Through this directive, the health official urges (but does not demand) companies and government entities to prohibit all personnel not fully immunized from any work-related travel (especially over 150 miles from the county) and urges employers to require all staff not fully immunized to take a weekly PCR test for COVID-19 or daily antigen test with COVID PCR confirmation of everything positive result.
In connection with the bylaw and directives, the county has also provided a Faq page to answer questions.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE?
Violation of any provision of this Ordinance constitutes a public nuisance and is liable to a fine, imprisonment, or both. Any company that does not apply for the immunization status of its workers by June 1, 2021 may be required to pay fines of up to $ 5,000 per violation per day.