COVID update: Santa Clara County to follow state’s June 15 reopening guidelines + new OSHA mask guidelines for the workplace

In mid-May, Santa Clara County health officials announced the region’s transition into the Yellow Tier in light of significant advances against the coronavirus.

Nearly a month later, the County remains in the Yellow Tier and plans to adhere to the state’s reopening guidelines set to begin on June 15, when most businesses may return to usual operations, with certain caveats. 

Major changes that will come with the state’s reopening include:

  • The state will retire its color-coded reopening system. All counties will be allowed to reopen at the same time regardless of local virus transmission.
  • Capacity limits will be removed.
  • Social distancing requirements will be eliminated.
  • More lenient mask mandates will be put into place, restricting only certain activities.
  • Large-scale indoor events will include vaccination or negative test requirements for attendees through early October, at minimum. Large outdoor events recommend, but do not require, the same guidance.

Fully vaccinated individuals still will need to wear masks in hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, during travel and while indoors at K-12 schools. Those who are not vaccinated will continue to be required to wear a mask in all indoor public settings.

The state is planning to release new mask wearing guidelines for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

For the workplace, Cal/OSHA recently released and subsequently reversed a controversial pending mask regulation that would have allowed workers to forego masks if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated. The Cal/OSHA Board initially ruled last week that workplaces can go maskless if everyone in the room has been vaccinated. On Wednesday, it withdrew the rule.

Cal/OSHA decided to reverse the ordinance “so that it matches up with the CDC and the California Department of Public Health,” according to reports. Those guidelines exempt any individual who is vaccinated from wearing a mask indoors at work.

The Cal/OSHA Board plans to reconsider the ordinance at their meeting on June 17; new guidance could potentially go into effect by the end of the month.

More than 77% of Santa Clara County residents age 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and over 66% have completed their vaccination, the County of Santa Clara Emergency Operations Center reported earlier this week. For information about vaccine appointments and drop-in centers, visit For ongoing COVID-19 updates in Santa Clara County, visit here.