Bartenders, servers smiling faces visible as Cal/OSHA lifts mask mandate for employees

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For the first time in more than a year, the smiling faces of servers and bartenders at Vino Grille and Spirits could be seen Thursday.

The change coming just hours after the Cal/OSHA Safety Board voted to allow vaccinated employees to go mask-less and Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order making the change effective immediately.

"It's nice to finally get in there, start coming back to normal and getting people in and seeing their faces again," said Chuck Van Fleet, the owner of Vino Grille & Spirits.

RELATED: Cal/OSHA board votes to end face mask requirements in the workplace for vaccinated employees

Here are the masking guidelines for workplaces under the new rules:

  • Vaccinated employees are not required to wear masks while indoors, except for the places where California still requires masks to be worn by all people
  • Unvaccinated employees must still wear face masks in indoor settings
  • Face masks are not required for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers while outdoors

CAL/OSHA says employers must document a worker's vaccination status, but they're allowed to just take the employee's word.

N95 masks must be also made available for workers who have not been vaccinated.

"This proposal is to lower hurdles to businesses resuming normal operations and physical distancing and barriers," said Cal/OSHA Deputy Chief of Health Eric Berg.

Van Fleet said he alerted his staff members as soon as he learned the governor signed an order to make it effective immediately.
"I sent an email and a text to all my employees, said it is completely up to you if you've been vaccinated, then you don't have to wear it, wear it if you want to. And, if you haven't, please wear it." Van Fleet said.

For owners like Van Fleet, he said the restaurant will still keep some seating distanced for customers who aren't ready to sit nearby others, but he says this gives the restaurant a chance to get back to business.

"You know, we're all going to be cautious about what's going on and very careful, but you know we're just we're happy to be able to be open," Van Fleet said.

Masks are still required in mass transit and in classrooms.

Employers still have the option of keeping safety measures in place, if they choose.
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