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California Lowers Masking Requirements Effective February 15, 2022
Feb 14, 2022

California Lowers Masking Requirements Effective February 15, 2022

Topics: COVID-19

On February 15, 2022, the Department of Public Health (CDPH) Order requiring masking of almost all Californians in most indoor public spaces will expire.  Last week, CDPH issued new guidance that goes into effect on February 16, 2022.  

However, this change is not universal as employers must continue to comply with the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and any local health department orders.  For example, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health orders will require continued indoor masking requirements. 

CDPH continues to require masking in certain indoor settings for all persons, regardless of vaccine status for:

  • Public transit
  • School and childcare settings (indoors)
  • Homeless shelters and emergency shelters
  • Healthcare settings
  • State and local correctional facilities
  • Long-term care settings and adult and senior care facilities

In addition, CDPH requires unvaccinated individuals to mask in all indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public) with few exceptions:

  • Children under two years of age,
  • Persons who require a medical accommodation; and
  • 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.

It appears that Cal/OSHA ETS will, therefore, allow most employers to lift current masking requirements for fully vaccinated employees that employers instituted based on the CDPH’s prior orders.  However, employers may continue to require masks and employees may not be disciplined if they wish to wear a mask, unless wearing a mask creates a safety hazard.  Also, employers should continue to provide masks to employees.

Before eliminating masking requirements for fully vaccinated employees from the workplace, employers should consult with their favorite CDF lawyer to ensure that their vaccination recordkeeping will allow for a change and evaluate whether local health department orders will permit the employer to revise current policies.

About CDF

For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor in Chief

Sacramento Office Managing Partner and Chair of CDF’s Traditional Labor Law Practice Group. Mark has been practicing labor and employment law in California for thirty years. His practice has a special emphasis on the representation of California employers in union-management relations and handling federal and state court litigation and administrative matters triggered by all types of employment-related disputes. He is also adept at providing creative and practical legal advice to help minimize the risks inherent in employing workers in California. He recently named “Sacramento Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law-Management for 2021 by Best Lawyers®.
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