Three Counties Issue Mask Mandates That Apply to California Employers – More to Come!!!
In June, Cal-OSHA updated its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), requiring unvaccinated employees to be masked in the workplace, except in certain situations, and permitting fully vaccinated employees to be maskless in the workplace in most situations. However, the ETS expressly provided that employers must comply with more stringent local regulations and health orders, when applicable. At the time the ETS was published, there were no significant local regulations in California addressing mask wearing in the workplace.
Three Counties Mandate Masks for Everyone
With the rise of the Delta variant, three California counties have issued mask mandates for the fully vaccinated and the unvaccinated. These new mandates apply to employers in those counties. Los Angeles issued its mandate a couple of weeks ago. This week, Yolo County (west of Sacramento) and Sacramento County issued mask mandates due to the rising number of cases in the Sacramento area.
Federal and California Agencies Recommend Masks Be Worn By All
On July 26, 2021, the CDC announced its new recommendation that masks should be worn by all persons indoors in high transmission areas, currently comprising over 60% of the United States and much of California. Today, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) followed suit and updated its mask guidance to recommend masks indoors throughout the state and adding Adult and Senior Centers to the list of settings where masks are required of all individuals, regardless of vaccine status.
We expect that unless things change for the better rapidly, many other local health departments will issue orders requiring mandatory indoor masking for all employees (including fully vaccinated employees), and other additional COVID-19 prevention protocols.
Local Health Orders/mask mandates are enforceable and employers must comply with Cal-OSHA’s ETS and local health orders in the jurisdictions where they operate. Therefore, most employers in Los Angeles, Yolo, and Sacramento counties (and likely more to come) will need to modify their protocols to comply with applicable health and safety requirements.
If you are in one of the counties that issued a new mask mandate and have questions, we encourage you to reach out to a CDF attorney to help guide your organization through these turbulent times, where guidelines and rules change in the blink of an eye.
NEW HEALTH ORDERS: