By Wilson Walker

CONCORD (KPIX) — New Cal OSHA COVID guidelines for the workplace that will go into effect soon have some concerned about additional demand on testing sites.

For the most part, California’s COVID rules remain the same, though there are some changes to masking and testing requirements.

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“Well the new rules will slow business for me, that’s what it means” says Habib Jacifi, owner of Concord’s Luna Ristorante. “A lot of my customers are nervous to come inside the restaurant.”

While pandemic fears continue to be a drag on business, Luna Ristorante is prepared for the new guidelines. Masks must be surgical or medical grade. Or if a cloth mask is being used, it must have at least two layers.

“We do have plenty of masks,” said Jacifi. “We have backups for our guests as well.”

A change regarding testing is raising more concerns. The state is trying to avoid people passing off someone else’s negative at-home test as their own.
That means someone who needs to be tested would have to do so in person with their employer, or go through a testing service.

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That, in turn, could send more people to sites that are already overwhelmed.

“In the world of a testing shortage, there’s not really a great solution around that,” said Rob Moutrie with the California Chamber of Commerce. “I myself signed up for a PCR test after the holidays. It took me a week to get into a testing center to get that test.”

The California Chamber of Commerce says new testing requirements could simply be impossible to meet if there just isn’t enough testing capacity.

“We may be in a different testing scenario in two months. Hopefully we are,” said Moutrie. “But coming off the December surge, that availability right now as the rules go into effect January 14th, is a real concern.”

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On January 20th, Cal OSHA will vote on adopting the federal vaccine mandate in California unless the Supreme Court intervenes on that issue.