Santa Clara County issued an order on June 21, 2021, phasing out their previous order from May 18, 2021 (which we reported on here), which required employers to inquire about an unvaccinated employee’s status every 14 days to see if they had been vaccinated against COVID-19 (coronavirus). The new order reduces an employer’s obligation to continue asking an employee about their vaccination status. Rather than continuing to ask, an employer has fulfilled its obligation once it has asked an unvaccinated employee two times (waiting 14 days between inquiries) about their vaccination status. The change comes in light of a decline in cases and improvement in widespread community vaccination against COVID -19. Businesses that haven’t yet completed at least two rounds of inquiries about unvaccinated employees’ vaccination status must continue to comply with the May 18th order until they’ve done so. According to the county’s FAQs on ascertaining vaccination status, once you’ve completed the two rounds of inquiries for current employees, you have no obligation to do so going forward for new hires. Businesses must also maintain appropriate records of their past vaccination status inquiries for the duration of the California COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). The new order also rescinds an order from May 13, 2020, which directed hospitals and skilled nursing facilities to disclose personal protective equipment inventories.
Tips: If you fully complied with the May 18th order, you should’ve already completed the required two rounds of asking unvaccinated employees about their vaccination status. That order required businesses to complete their initial round of employee vaccination status inquiries by June 1, and then every 14 days thereafter. While your obligation to ascertain employee vaccination status under Santa Clara County’s orders may have already been satisfied, keep in mind Cal/OSHA’s revised ETS requires that employers document employees’ vaccination status before allowing fully vaccinated employees not to wear face coverings indoors (read our article on Cal/OSHA’s ETS here). Questions? Contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney.