Seyfarth Synopsis: On July 26, 2021, Governor Newsom, announced that California state workers and workers in “health care” and “high-risk congregate settings” will be mandated to either show proof of being fully vaccinated, or be tested for COVID-19 at least weekly. The mandate also encourages all local governments and other employers to adopt a similar protocol. The full text of the anticipated Order has not yet been released.

On July 26, 2021, Governor Newsom issued a press release, noting that California will begin requiring state employees and employees in “health care and high-risk congregate settings” to either show proof of being fully vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 at least weekly. The Governor is promoting these mandates as an effort to encourage state and healthcare workers to get vaccinated.

The Same Subject In Different Lights

Although “health care settings” are not yet clearly defined, the requirement will likely apply to any health care business that was subject to previous orders from the State of California regarding COVID-19 protocols. Examples of health care employers include:

  • Hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Hospice facilities
  • Primary care clinics
  • Adult day health centers
  • Long-term care facilities

The state mandate also lists the following examples of “high-risk congregate” facilities:

  • Adult and senior residential facilities
  • Homeless shelters
  • Jails

No Time For Ceremony

The requirement will take effect on August 2 for state workers and on August 9 for health care workers and congregate facilities. As testing is phased in, health care facilities will have until August 23, 2021, to come into full compliance.

Also, even for those workplaces already following the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard on COVID-19 (ETS), the mandate will require that employees “show proof” of vaccination to their employer, as opposed to simply attesting to vaccination status as allowed by the ETS. So covered workplaces may need to go back to employees who previously provided only their attestations of vaccination status, and seek documentary proof (such as a vaccination card) of vaccination status.

Workplace Solutions

In light of the mandate, covered employers must rapidly adjust their COVID-19 testing and verification procedures, and they may need to reevaluate their current COVID-19 policies and procedures if covered by the Cal/OSHA ETS. Consult your Seyfarth attorney, including any member of Seyfarth’s Workplace Safety Team, to ensure that your business is in compliance with the ever-changing COVID-19 rules and regulations.


Edited by Coby Turner and Elizabeth Levy