By: Cody T. Stroman– California Labor & Employment Blog

On April 6, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his goal to have California fully reopen for business as of June 15, 2021.  In order to meet this goal, the state must meet the following criteria: (1) the state must have sufficient vaccine supply to vaccinate all Californians who are 16 or older, and (2) hospitalization rates in the state must remain low and stable.

If these criteria are met, California will move away from its four-tiered color-coded system and everyday business activities will be allowed for the first time since March of 2020.  However, the Governor stressed that Californians must remain vigilant.  In this regard, the Governor stated that California’s individual mask mandate will remain in place, vaccination verification requirements may be required in appropriate settings, and businesses will need to comply with any applicable Cal/OSHA requirements.

After the Governor’s press conference, the California Department of Public Health released general guidance that stated employers should implement common-sense policies that reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, such as improved indoor ventilation, mandating masking indoors, and permit remote work when possible in order to reopen fully on June 15, 2021.  In addition to these guidelines, California employers should continue to follow local and state-level COVID-19 related requirements for reopening and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for their employees, which can be a moving target as the COVID-19 situation changes.

This is good news for all California employers and employees.  However, in order to help ensure the best chance at reopening and to minimize the risk of liability, California employers should remain vigilant in this developing landscape to ensure they are in compliance with all state and federal requirements and any local regulations.