On May 18, 2021, Santa Clara County issued a new Order of the Health Officer (the “Order”) that took effect on May 19th.  Of particular note, the Order imposes two new obligations:  First, it mandates that employers require all personnel to immediately alert their employer if they test positive for COVID-19 and were present in the workplace either (1) within the 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms or within 10 days after onset of symptoms if they were symptomatic; or (2) within 48 hours prior to the date on which they were tested or within 10 days after the date on which they were tested if they were asymptomatic.  Businesses are required to report any confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to them to the County within 24 hours.

Second, the Order requires that employers ascertain the vaccination status of all personnel within 14 days of the effective date of the Order.  Until an employee’s vaccination status has been ascertained, the Order requires that such employees be treated as though they are unvaccinated for purposes of any reopening protocols.  Further, any employees who decline to provide an employer with information regarding their vaccination status also must be treated as though they are unvaccinated.  Employers are required to obtain updated vaccination status information for all personnel who were not fully vaccinated every 14 days.

Although California’s current state masking guidance continues to require employees to wear masks indoors in virtually all settings—even when vaccinated—the state has indicated that will change by June 15, 2021.  When that happens, it is likely that rules will differ for vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.