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December 2, 2021

County rescinds vaccine verification order

New state rules take effect in Santa Clara County

Due to new state rules regarding the wearing of masks in the workplace, Santa Clara County has rescinded its May 18 health order requiring employers to determine workers’ vaccination status.

New regulations approved by the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) do not require employees who are fully vaccinated to wear face coverings.

“The evidence is increasingly clear that getting fully vaccinated is the best thing you can do to keep yourself, your family and our community safe from Covid-19,” Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said. “The vaccines work well, even against variants, but it is important to get your second dose if you’re getting a two-dose vaccine because that second dose makes a real difference. If you are not fully vaccinated it is important to continue to wear face coverings indoors. But if you are among the 70% of those age 12 and older in Santa Clara County who are fully vaccinated, you generally do not need to wear a face covering.”

Under Cal/OSHA’s new regulations, a worker is considered “fully vaccinated” if they have documentation reflecting they completed their vaccination series at least 14 days ago.

The county’s May 18 local health order requires all businesses and government agencies to determine their workforce’s vaccination status. The order does not require employers to report that information to the county. It allows individuals to decline to state their vaccination status, but such employees are treated as unvaccinated under the county health order.

As of June 21, that local order is rescinded, except for employers that have not yet completed two rounds of vaccination verification status of their employees, according to county staff. For these employers, the May 18 order will no longer apply after they complete the second round.

The June 21 county order includes continued recommendations to limit the spread of Covid-19: get vaccinated, emphasize outdoor activities, avoid travel and continue to regularly test for Covid-19 if not fully vaccinated.

“We are pleased that the county’s proactive vaccine ascertainment effort now allows employers in our community the ability to legally implement the new Cal/OSHA regulations,” said County Counsel James R. Williams. “With today’s announcement, once an entity has completed its second ascertainment of vaccination status, everyone should continue to follow the state’s rules, but there are no broader local health orders in effect in Santa Clara County.”

Under the State’s public health rules, face coverings are still required—regardless of vaccination status—in healthcare settings; at schools, childcare, and youth settings; on public transit; in jails and correctional facilities; and at homeless and emergency shelters.

Santa Clara County has the nation’s highest vaccination rate among large counties, and one of the highest vaccination rates among all counties, according to CDC data. As of June 20, 80% of residents aged 12 and older have received their first dose, and more than 71% of residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

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