California is set to hit a major milestone Tuesday when progress against the deadly coronavirus will allow the state to reopen. But don’t throw the masks away just yet, even if you’re vaccinated.

The rules set by local, state and federal governments are not in sync, and another announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected Friday. But Californians’ new mask-wearing future is coming into focus despite confusion and a beleaguered workplace-safety board’s reversal this week of guidelines it adopted last week after a marathon nine-hour meeting.

Here are questions and answers to help navigate the new COVID-19 reality:

Q: The state opens up next week. Will I have to keep wearing a mask?

A: That depends on whether you’re fully vaccinated, whether you’re at work or whether you’re out and about in everyday life.

Q: I’m fully vaccinated. Will I have to wear a mask anywhere?

A: Probably. Outside, you won’t need a mask, and the state has said you can drop your mask in most indoor settings, unless it’s your workplace, where different rules apply for now. However, masks are still required for everyone on buses, trains, planes, ships, taxis and ride-share vehicles, as well as in airports, bus stations and ports. Masks are also required indoors for everyone in K-12 schools, child care facilities, health care facilities, prisons, jails and shelters.

Q: If I’m not fully vaccinated, will I have to wear a mask everywhere?

A: No, but you will need to wear one in most public indoor locations and businesses, including stores, restaurants, theaters and government offices. And, like vaccinated people, you still need a mask on transit and other transportation, along with schools, child care facilities, health care facilities, prisons, jails and shelters.

Also, outdoors at what the state calls “mega events” such as concerts, verification of fully vaccinated status or showing a negative test result is “strongly recommended” but not required for attendees. “Attendees who do not verify vaccination status should be asked to wear face coverings,” the state public health department says.

Q: How will mask rules be enforced?

A: It’s not entirely clear. California’s Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly says businesses can use the honor system for patrons. The state public health department says businesses have three options on masks for customers: allow people to self-attest to their vaccination status, verify vaccine status to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask, or require all patrons to wear masks.

On transit, the Valley Transportation Authority says it doesn’t allow anyone to board without a mask, with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Transit Patrol and contracted security teams as enforcers. “Warnings are given, and masks are made available,” said spokeswoman Brandi Childress. “Issuing citations is rare.”

BART spokesman Jim Allison said BART “is addressing the face covering mandate from an educational perspective rather than an enforcement perspective,” with data showing 96% compliance and BART police and station agents offering masks to the mask-less.

Newsom’s office, the state public health department and workplace-safety regulator Cal/OSHA did not respond to questions about enforcement of mask rules elsewhere.

Q: Are rules different for the workplace?

A: Yes, for at least a few more weeks. Cal/OSHA’s workplace standards board on Wednesday threw out controversial new rules that would have required vaccinated workers to wear masks in any room where someone was unvaccinated. They’re drafting new rules that will align with the state’s guidance. But until those are approved, all workers must be masked unless they’re alone in a room, regardless of vaccination status.

Cal/OSHA’s board is set to meet June 17, two days after the state’s reopening, to approve new rules. But those can’t take effect until June 28. Newsom in a press conference Thursday called the board’s latest decision “encouraging” and said he planned to share more specific guidance Friday.

“We’ll be highlighting more nuance, not just as it relates to that decision, but all these executive orders, all these provisions, as we wind down and move successfully to June 15th,” Newsom said.

Ghaly said this week that the “primary guidance” for workplaces will continue to be whatever standards Cal/OSHA adopts.

Q: How will workplace rules be enforced?

A: Again, it’s not entirely clear. Ghaly said employers are still subject to Cal/OSHA standards, but the Cal/OSHA board has yet to address enforcement.

Q: Doesn’t Santa Clara County have separate rules for the workplace?

A: Yes. The county requires employers to determine the vaccination status of their employees. But county health officer Dr. Sara Cody “intends to review the state-level guidance and make decisions accordingly,” a spokesperson said in a statement Thursday.

Q: Am I the only one who finds this confusing?

A: Not by a long shot. The combination of rules on vaccines and masks has changed with whiplash-inducing frequency.

Suzanne Teran, associate director of the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley, said officials are trying to protect public health at a time when many people still remain unvaccinated, when the length of time that vaccines will work before a booster is needed is unknown, and as more virulent COVID-19 variants pose a risk not well understood. Many business owners are frustrated by changing rules and are upset at the rule-makers. “They’re just in kind of dithering chaos right now,” said Dan McCranie, owner of the Ladera Grill in Morgan Hill.

Staff writer Fiona Kelliher contributed to this report

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