County drops requirement that employers check vaccinations

Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County health officer, speaks at a news conference on Jan. 31. AP photo.

By the Daily Post staff

Santa Clara County has dropped a month-old requirement that employers determine the vaccination status of their employees or face fines.

The county said it was backtracking because of new rules issued by Cal/OSHA last week. Cal/OSHA says masks are no longer required in most workplaces. The state’s rules also require employers to keep track of who is vaccinated, but how that was supposed to be done hasn’t been disclosed.

It’s unknown how many employers had complied with the county’s order to check up on their employees.

Under the rules the county rescinded, employers were required to ask unvaccinated employees about their status every 14 days and keep records about their status. Within 24 hours of learning of a positive case on-site, an employer must report the information to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

The walk-back comes after news reports revealed that the county had gone to extremes in shutting down and fining employers and other organizations. The Mercury News reported in April that businesses here are 13 times more likely to get slapped with a fine than any other Bay Area county. And the amount of fines is 50 times more than the next highest county, San Mateo.

Santa Clara County was also rebuked twice by the U.S. Supreme Court for shutting down churches in violation of the First Amendment.

The county’s health orders are issued by Dr. Sara Cody, the county’s public health officer. Under state law, the county’s public health officer cannot be fired by the Board of Supervisors during a health emergency. However, when the emergency ends, the supervisors are free to let her go.

Under Cal/OSHA’s rules, workers who are fully vaccinated don’t have to wear masks. However, Cal/OSHA requires masks — regardless of vaccination status — in health care settings; at schools, childcare, and youth settings; on public transit; in jails and prisons; and at homeless and emergency shelters.

1 Comment

Comments are closed.