California is now just hours away from fully reopening. But there's still a lot of confusion about what that means, specifically when it comes to masks and the workplace.
Especially considering there’s been a lot of back and forth and changing rules when it comes to mask guidance and now businesses that have required masks for nearly a year are wondering what’s going to happen next.
“We’re still waiting for more up to date notices on what’s allowed and what’s not, but we’re taking it day by day,” said Rodel Marquez of Burma 2 restaurant in Walnut Creek.
Restaurant managers like Marquez are running out of days to figure it out. At issue is the guidance for mask wearing in the workplace, both for customers and workers.
For customers, the rule is be vaccinated or be masked. But how will businesses tell whether workers or customers really qualify to take off the mask?
For employees, Cal/OSHA has changed its mind and its guidance three times in the past week, and that has businesses frustrated.
“We do as much as we can to keep everybody safe. As long as people are truthful about it,” Marquez added.
“My vaccine card will go right here. One way to cut through the confusion, make everyone prove it,” said Freddy Sanchez.
Sanchez runs a barbershop in Walnut Creek and says customers expecting to take off masks will have to show proof of vaccination in his business.
“If you want to take your mask off, then you do. When there’s young kids in here, I prefer for everyone to wear a mask just because they haven’t had the opportunity to get vaccinated yet,” Sanchez added.
Until businesses are provided with more guidance, it could be more of the same, even after Tuesday.
“All I can do is make sure my clients are safe and my barbers are safe. If that mean we keep our masks on for a couple of weeks while they figure it out, that’s what we’ll do,” Sanchez said.
For employees, any changes to mask guidance will need to be voted on by Cal/OSHA.
But the earliest that will happen is Thursday, two days after the state reopens.
From there, the changes could go into effect by the end of the month.