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Update on COVID workplace rules, getting back to normal and staff kudos

It’s been one week since we officially reopened our offices to the public and welcomed remaining city staff back to the workplace. I’d like to sincerely thank everyone for getting this transition off to a great start!

Updated workplace regulations

As I mentioned in my last update, we had been waiting for updated COVID-19 rules from Cal/OSHA. Last Thursday, the state agency decided to bring workplace rules more or less in line with the CDC’s latest guidance.

We are in the process of updating city policies based on the new rules. Keep in mind, that our policies can be stricter than the new rules, just not less strict. All COVID-19 workplace guidance is or will be available on the city website.

No changes this week

For the remainder of this week, we are asking that all employees and the public continue to follow existing protocols, meaning masks should be worn in accordance with our face covering policy, and physical distancing should be maintained.

Starting June 27

  • Fully vaccinated employees who have verified their vaccination status will no longer be required to wear face coverings inside city buildings and vehicles

  • Unvaccinated employees and fully vaccinated employees who have not verified their vaccination status will be required to wear face coverings inside city buildings and vehicles except:

  • When alone in a room or vehicle

  • When eating and drinking

  • When an accommodation is required

  • When job duties make a face covering infeasible or create a hazard

  • No face coverings will be required outdoors, regardless of vaccination status

  • Face coverings are recommended for unvaccinated employees outdoors when 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

  • Surgical masks and N95 masks will be available to any employee upon request to the employee’s supervisor. Employees can find information on how to properly wear a N95 mask here.

  • No physical distancing will be required, unless there is an outbreak

  • We will leave physical barriers in workspaces up for now as an extra precaution

How to verify vaccination status

To allow vaccinated employees to forego face coverings and other precautions, the city must first have a process to document employee vaccination status. Later this week, you will receive an email asking you to verify your vaccination status via an electronic signature by end of day Friday. We will not require employees to provide physical proof of vaccination. Employees who do not respond to the survey will be considered unvaccinated. You can also respond to the survey in the future should there be a change in your vaccination status.

Employee privacy We understand the importance of keeping employee health information private. Only HR will have access to employee vaccination status and only for the purpose of implementing the Cal/OSHA rules.

Flexibility to continue precautions

Employees may choose to continue to wear a face covering or social distance even if they are fully vaccinated. Employees may not be retaliated against for this choice.

Vaccinations recommended by health officials

Employees are not required to be vaccinated, but the CDC, California Department of Public Health and County of San Diego Public Health Officer recommend it. Getting vaccinated is the best way to not only protect yourself from COVID-19 but to prevent further community spread. The more COVID-19 spreads, the greater the chance of new, potentially more serious variants. You can find information on where and how to get vaccinated on the city’s website.

Rules for the public

In keeping with CDC guidance and the Cal/OSHA rules, members of the public who are vaccinated are not required to wear masks or maintain distance while in city facilities, starting next week. We will post new signage to advise the public of these rules. Members of the public will “self-attest” to their vaccination status.

Health screening

Also starting June 27, employees will no longer need to complete health screenings at the entrance to city buildings or complete the online questionnaire. Instead, we are asking that everyone self screen at home for any symptoms prior to coming to work. If you have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your supervisor immediately and should not come to work.

Employee cases

Thanks to our continued diligence, we have had no new employee cases of COVID-19 since my last update.

Kudos to our custodial staff In preparation for last week’s reopening, our custodial staff completed a deep cleaning of city facilities and will continue to follow all health guidelines to make sure our city facilities comply with (or even exceed) these standards. I think we can all agree they have done an outstanding job helping keep us all healthy and safe, and by the looks of the photos below, have maintained their sense of humor while doing it!

Go Team Carlsbad

For those of you who have been working onsite already, you’re now seeing some of your colleagues in person for the first time in over a year. For those who had been telecommuting, you’re getting used to a new routine -- more changes following over a year of changes!

When I look back on the past 15 months, the thing that stands out most is the sense of teamwork that permeated everything we did. We needed each other, and we were there for each other. That’s what being a team is all about, and I could not be prouder of Team Carlsbad.

See you soon (that’s the first time I’ve really been able to say that! It feels good!)

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