COVID Update: State Plans to Reopen on June 15Drew Hendricks
We’ve received many inquiries from our clients on the status of the State’s COVID restrictions, as there appears to have been much confusion and conflicting news on what “full reopening” means. This Newsletter is intended to respond to the most frequently asked questions that we’ve received about the reopening of California’s economy, so that you can effectively manage your communities.
What does “Full Reopening” mean? Full reopening means that, in most cases, California will no longer impose capacity limits, physical distancing requirements, or vaccine verification/negative testing requirements. Most sectors of the economy can return to their usual operations. There’s an exception for mega events (indoor events with more than 5,000 people, and outdoor events of more than 10,000 people), but that’s not expected to impact your communities.
For the past year, we’ve been informing you about changes to the State’s Guidance regarding swimming pools, gyms, spas, playgrounds, and other common facilities. All of those capacity limits are expected to go away on June 15, 2021.
When will “Full Reopening” occur? The full reopening is expected to occur on June 15, 2021.
What about the Color-Coded Tier System? The color-coded tier system was known as “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” It imposed capacity limits and social distancing requirements on your pools, gyms and other common facilities depending on whether your County was in the yellow, orange, red, or purple tier. That color-coded tier system will be eliminated statewide as of June 15, 2021.
What about my county? Counties can still impose restrictions that are stricter than those of the State. However, at this time, it appears that most counties will be following the State by lifting the restrictions discussed above. We will let you know if we learn otherwise.
Do we still have to wear masks? The State Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued new guidance on masks on June 9, which will take effect on June 15.
Masks will still be required both for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in the following settings: on public transport and in transportation hubs, indoors in K-12 schools or childcare settings (pending new guidance), healthcare settings, and a few other areas. This doesn’t apply to persons younger than 2, the hearing impaired, or persons with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.
Masks will be required for unvaccinated individuals in the following settings: indoor public settings and businesses such as retail, restaurants, theaters and meetings. The state is not requiring that vaccinated individuals wear masks in these settings. This means that if you are holding an indoor Board meeting at your clubhouse, all unvaccinated individuals must still wear a mask.
If we hold an indoor Board meeting, how do we determine who is vaccinated or not? According to the CDPH, you can select among the following options:
- Provide information to all in attendance regarding vaccination requirements, and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance before entry;
- Implement vaccine verification requirements to determine whether individuals are unvaccinated and therefore required to wear a mask; or
- Require all attendees to wear a mask, in order to avoid either of the above options.
If you’re worried about implementing any of the above, the simplest choice is to continue to hold meetings by video conference.
What about work? Do we have to wear a mask at work? This isn’t entirely clear yet. Last week, Cal/OSHA adopted a rule that if there is a single unvaccinated individual in an indoor employment setting, then all workers in that setting must wear a masks, including those who are fully vaccinated. Following much controversy, Cal/OSHA rescinded that decision on June 9. Cal/OSHA will be meeting again on Thursday, June 17 to consider adopting new mask guidelines in the workplace. While we generally expect that Cal/OSHA will require that only unvaccinated individuals must wear a mask, we will let you know what the agency decides next week.
How long will all of this remain in place? The State has indicated that it will keep a close eye on COVID vaccination and infection rates during the summer, and will keep the above restrictions in place until at least October 1, 2021. Of course, if rates begin to increase again, this could change.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Community Legal Advisors Inc.
Michael J. Alti, Esq.