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New Santa Clara County Public Health Order Phases Out May 18, 2021 Vaccination-Tracking Order In Light of New Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Workplace Regulations and Widespread Vaccination

On June 21, the Santa Clara County Director of Public Health issued a new Order phasing out the last local Health Order. With new Cal/OSHA regulations that went in place on June 18, the county believes their last Health Order issued on May 18 does not need to be in place, except in limited situations.

The new Cal/OSHA workplace regulations do not require workers who are “fully vaccinated” to wear face coverings, among many other changes that reflect the efficacy and safety that vaccination provides. Under the new Cal/OSHA regulations, an employee is considered “fully vaccinated” if the employer has documentation reflecting that the employee completed their vaccination series at least 14 days ago. 

The May 18 Health Order required all businesses and governmental entities in Santa Clara County to determine the vaccination status of their personnel. It did not require reporting of that information to the County, and it allowed individuals the ability to “decline to state” their status, although they are then treated as unvaccinated. Cal/OSHA has explained that a self-attestation like that permitted under the May 18 Local Health Order is sufficient documentation to implement its new regulations.

Under the June 21 Order, the May 18 Health Order is rescinded, except as follows:

  1. Employers Must Complete Two Rounds of Ascertainment: For those businesses or governmental entities who have not yet completed two rounds of ascertainment of vaccination status of their personnel—a first round for all personnel and a second round for those who did not indicate they were fully vaccinated. For those entities, once the second round is complete, the May 18 Order does not apply to them either.
  2. Employers Must Maintain Records: All entities must maintain their records to demonstrate completion of two rounds of ascertainment for the duration of the Cal/OSHA regulations.

The June 21 Order also makes clear that all businesses and individuals must continue to follow state Orders and regulations. It also includes several strong recommendations to employers to continue to keep the community safe from COVID-19:

  1. Get vaccinated: Encourage all personnel to be fully vaccinated as soon as possible, and regularly request updated vaccination status information from those personnel who are not already fully vaccinated.
  2. Continue to emphasize outdoor activities: Consider moving operations and activities outdoors, where there is significantly less risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially operations and activities involving patrons who are unlikely to be vaccinated.
  3. Avoid travel if not fully vaccinated: Prohibit all personnel who are not fully vaccinated from engaging in any work-related travel to places with elevated rates of COVID-l9, with widespread circulation of variants of concern, or where community vaccination rates are below the average in the Bay Area region.
  4. Continue to test for COVID-19: Require all personnel not fully vaccinated to obtain regulartesting for COVID-19. Any person, vaccinated or unvaccinated, who has COVID-19 symptomsshould be tested via a PCR test immediately.

If you have any questions about the new Santa Clara County Public Health Order, or any of the host of COVID-19 related orders, guidance, and laws that remain in full force and effect at both the federal and state level, please contact Ghazaleh Modarresi at or any of the Berliner Cohen employment law attorneys.