California has recently revised its COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards, or ETS. Some of the changes affecting employers are highlighted below.

  • Face Coverings
    • Employees who are exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical or mental health condition, or disability and cannot wear a non-restrictive alternative must:
      • Physically distance at least six feet from others, and
      • Be:
        • fully vaccinated, or
        • tested at least weekly for COVID-19.
  • Employers must provide this testing during paid time and at no cost to the employee.
  • Testing and Exclusion
    • Employees who have recently recovered from COVID-19 and those who are fully vaccinated need not be excluded from the workplace after “close contact,” but must wear a face covering and maintain six feet of physical distancing for 14 calendar days following the last date of contact.
  • Employers must make COVID-19 testing available at no cost and during paid time to employees who were fully vaccinated before the “close contact” with a COVID-19 case occurred, even if they are asymptomatic.
  • Employers must make weekly testing available to asymptomatic fully vaccinated employees in the exposed group as follows:
    • Outbreaks: once weekly
    • Major Outbreaks: twice weekly
  • Return to Work Criteria
    • The period before an employee can return to work after “close contact” or COVID-19 illness has been revised to be consistent with current CDPH guidelines. These time frames will automatically update if CDPH updates their guidelines pursuant to the Governor’s executive order.

In addition, the revised ETS clarifies certain definitions and instructions for employee exposure notifications.

These changes are due to take effect on January 14, 2022.