Citing the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effectiveness of San Francisco's response, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) has announced that the city's COVID-19 state of emergency will end on February 28, 2023, just over three years after it went into effect. The SFDPH's announcement is in alignment with the end of California's statewide public health emergency (see DWT’s previous report here), as well as those in other Bay Area counties including Santa Clara and Marin, which are also scheduled to end on February 28, 2023. President Biden also recently announced that the federal state of emergency will end on May 11, 2023.
While the SFDPH will be rescinding the "Safer Return Together" Health Officer Order and lifting the remaining mask mandates for the general public, it also intends to issue two orders that will continue to affect hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other healthcare and jail settings. Under these new orders, staff in these facilities will still be required to wear masks when interacting with patients, clients, or people who are incarcerated. By contrast, masking requirements for both the public and staff at homeless shelters will end starting on March 1. However, the SFDPH noted that these facilities will continue to be free to implement their own, more restrictive, policies and requirements.
Notably, the ending of federal, state, county and local states of emergency will not eliminate all COVID regulations and obligations. For example, as previously reported by DWT here and here, California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board's (Cal/OSHA) new COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations (Non-Emergency Regulations) recently went into effect on February 3, 2023. The new semi-permanent Non-Emergency Regulations ended the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, enacted significant changes in how employers engage with their employees and operate their businesses with respect to COVID-19, and will remain in effect for the most part until February 3, 2025. For a more detailed explanation of the changes enacted by the Non-Emergency Regulations, please see DWT's advisory here.
As always, DWT will continue to monitor these issues and provide updates on COVID-19 regulations as needed. In the meantime, if you have any questions about your company's compliance, please contact a member of DWT Employment Services Group.