(KION) Health officers in Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties issued a recommendation to employers Thursday to implement COVID-19 safety policies in the workplace, including requiring employees to get vaccinated.
They recommend that employees who are not fully vaccinated should be required to wear masks at all times and encourage employers to require frequent testing for unvaccinated employees. They said requiring vaccination for employment, with "very limited exceptions" for medical exemptions or strongly held beliefs, can help ensure a safe working environment.
"Workers who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 pose a substantial health and financial risk to the workplace," said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s health officer. "Most importantly, workplace exposures have led to serious illnesses and deaths."
The health officers decided to issue the recommendation because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases and the spread of the Delta Variant. Dr. Farnitano said that in Contra Costa County, the surge is driven by unvaccinated workers between the ages of 25 and 50.
The health officers said employers should require documentation of vaccination instead of self-reporting. According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, employers can require documentation of vaccination status, require vaccination as a condition of employment and require precautions such as masking and testing.
Officials in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties said they are not asking employers to require vaccines at this time.