Assembly District 5’s Women of the Year for 2020

Image by Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Assemblyman Frank Bigelow honored Madera Chamber of Commerce CEO Debi Bray as the Assembly District 5’s Woman of the Year for 2020. Bigelow presented Bray with the award during a luncheon at the Vineyard Restaurant.

Each year, the California Women’s Legislative Caucus sponsors and hosts the event in Sacramento to honor women from around the state for all they do in their communities. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the State Assembly was unable to hold the ceremony, but Thursday, December 16, 2021, the Assemblyman was able to give Bray the award she deserved.

“Everywhere you look in Madera, you can see Debi’s fingerprints,” said Assemblyman Bigelow. “Debi has brought Madera to life through her commitment to our community for more than 36 years. Businesses are surviving this pandemic. Children have access to a plethora of educational workforce programs. Families are proud to call Madera home because of Debi’s ability to think outside of the box and make her visions become reality.”

Bray has called Madera home since 1973. She began as an Administrative Assistant at the Madera Chamber of Commerce in 1986, prior to accepting the position of President/CEO in 1989. She is a graduate of Madera High School. She has two children; daughter, Marissa, who lives in Madera and son, Clint who resides in Lyon, France. Bray is the proud grandmother of, Sawyer, 9, and Briar, 7, who also call Madera home.

Bray’s community involvement over the years includes: President of the Madera Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Madera County Workforce Investment Board; Board Member of Madera County Workforce Development Board, Board Member of the Madera Linkage Foundation, Board Member of the Madera Downtown Association, Member of the Madera Business Alliance.

“Debi has been a dear friend and inspiration for years,” Bigelow said. “Her dedication to Madera has benefited those that call it home and those who come to visit. Madera is a better place because of Debi. It’s an honor to recognize Debi for her continued dedication to our community.”

The Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization representing all segments of the business community with the potential for marshaling the energies and efforts of its membership toward the accomplishment of common goals for a better community.
The Chamber of Commerce is not governmentally funded. The main source of income is from membership and other fundraising activities
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State of California—Health and Human Services Agency California Department of Public Health

Guidance for the Use of Face Masks

Related Materials: Face Coverings Q&A | Face Coverings Fact Sheet (PDF) Face Mask Tips and Resources | Face Shields Q&A (PDF) | Safe Schools for All Hub | More Home & Community Guidance |All Guidance | More Languages

Updates as of January 5, 2022: 

  • Extends requirement for universal masking indoors statewide December 15, 2021, through February 15, 2022.

Background

The COVID-19 vaccines remain effective in preventing serious disease, hospitalization, and death from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Unvaccinated persons are more likely to get infected and spread the virus which is transmitted through the air and concentrates indoors. To ensure that we collectively protect the health and well-being of all Californians; keep schools open for in-person instruction; and allow California’s economy to remain open and thrive, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, until February 15, 2022. This requirement will be updated as CDPH continues to assess conditions on an ongoing basis.

This measure brings an added layer of mitigation as the Omicron variant, a Variant of Concern as labeled by the World Health Organization, continues to increase in prevalence across California, the United States, and the world and spreads much more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Delta variant. 

Over the last two weeks, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by more than sixfold and hospitalizations have doubled. While the percentage of Californians fully vaccinated and boosted continues to increase, we continue to have areas of the state where vaccine coverage is low, putting individuals and communities at greater risk for COVID-19. Given the current hospital census, which is over capacity, the surge in cases and hospitalizations has materially impacted California’s health care delivery system within many regions of the state. Staffing levels are also increasingly impacted by COVID-19 transmission in many critical sectors.

As noted in the Science Brief[1] by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated in December 2021, at least ten studies have confirmed the benefit of universal masking in community level analyses: in a unified hospital system,[2] a German city,[3] two U.S. states,[4][5] a panel of 15 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.,[6][7] as well as both Canada[8] and the U.S.[9][10][11] nationally. Each analysis demonstrated that, following directives for universal masking, new infections fell significantly. Two of these studies[12][13] and an additional analysis of data from 200 countries that included the U.S.[14] also demonstrated reductions in mortality. Another 10-site study showed reductions in hospitalization growth rates following mask mandate implementation.[15] 

Implementing a universal masking requirement not only has proven to decrease the rate of infections but is able to slow community transmission. A series of cross-sectional surveys in the U.S. suggested that a 10% increase in self-reported mask wearing tripled the likelihood of slowing community transmission.[16]

The masking requirement in California schools has allowed us to keep schools open when compared to other parts of the country. California accounts for roughly 12% of all U.S. students, but only 1% of COVID-19 related school closures. Nationally during the Delta surge in July and August 2021, jurisdictions without mask requirements in schools experienced larger increases in pediatric case rates, and school outbreaks were 3.5 times more likely in areas without school mask requirements.[17][18]

In workplaces, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) or in some workplaces the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.

Masking Requirements

Masks are required for all individuals in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status from December 15, 2021 through February 15, 2022 [surgical masks or higher-level respirators (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s) with good fit are recommended].

See State Health Officer Order, issued on July 26, 2021, for a full list of high-risk congregate and other healthcare settings where surgical masks are required for unvaccinated workers, and recommendations for respirator use for unvaccinated workers in healthcare and long-term care facilities in situations or settings not covered by Cal OSHA ETS or ATD.

For additional information on types of masks, the most effective masks, and ensuring a well-fitted mask, individuals should refer to CDPH Get the Most out of Masking and see CDPH Masking Guidance Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.

Exemptions to masks requirements

The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:

  • Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

COVID-19 – WORKPLACE SAFETY STANDARDS

Physical distancing and capacity limits for businesses and activities are over. While California retired most industry-specific guidance, all employers are still responsible for maintaining safe, low-risk environments for employees and customers.

COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards

Employers must follow California’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). The revised ETS reflect the state’s current COVID-19 public health guidelines. Visit saferatwork.ca.gov to learn more about COVID-19 workplace requirements.

Providing N95 Respirators – Employers must provide unvaccinated employees with N95 respirators upon their request and at no cost. California is providing a one-month supply of N95 respirators to small businesses. Contact the Madera Chamber of Commerce at (559) 673-3563 for more information.

Employers may require employees to be vaccinated

An employer can require their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as the employer:

  • Does not discriminate against or harass employees or job applicants on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as disability or national origin
  • Provides reasonable accommodations related to disability or sincerely-held religious beliefs or practices
  • Does not retaliate against anyone for engaging in protected activities, such as requesting a reasonable accommodation

Learn more about workplace safety and civil rights in the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s FAQsPDF.

Find details about reasonable accommodations in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Commission’s information about COVID-19 and EEO laws.

Request proof of vaccination

Employers requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination status for employees or patrons should follow the Department of Public Health’s Vaccine Record Guidelines and Standards:

  • Verify records through a private and confidential process.
  • Protect patrons from discrimination.
  • Do not create barriers to essential services or restrict access based on a protected characteristic.

Help employees get vaccinated!

Employers can assist their employees by:

  • Coordinating vaccination events with provider partners
  • Hosting a mobile or pop-up clinic
  • Helping employees book appointments
  • Providing employees with educational resources

Learn more about the Employer Vaccination Toolkit at saferatwork.ca.gov.