What’s the Latest on Mask Mandates for LA Employers?

man holding mask

Masks are now required in all indoor public places in Los Angeles County. And the California Department of Public Health has extended the requirement for universal masking indoors statewide until February 15, 2022.

When Must I Wear a Mask?

The rule says that everyone—no matter their vaccination status—must wear a mask in the following situations:

  • In all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and public and private businesses in LA County;
  • In healthcare environments, including long-term care facilities;
  • In transportation centers, such as airports, bus terminals, train stations, marinas, ports, subway stations, or any other location that provides transportation;
  • On planes, trains, buses, ferries, taxis, ride-shares (like Uber and Lyft), and all other forms of public transport;
  • In state and local correctional facilities and detention centers;
  • At all shelters and cooling centers;
  • Indoors at any youth-serving facility (like TK-12 schools, childcare, and day camps);
  • At outdoor Mega Events (which are events with over 10,000 attendees like concerts, sports games, and parades); and
  • At any other outdoor location where it’s the policy of the business or venuehttps://www.cdph.ca.gov/

When Can I Remove My Mask?

However, you’re permitted to remove your mask when you’re:

  • Actively eating or drinking, provided that you’re sitting or standing in a specific place like a table, counter, or ticketed seat. So, you can briefly remove your mask when you’re actually eating or drinking but you have to put it back on immediately afterward. You also must wear a mask when you’re waiting to be served, between courses or drinks, and while you’re seated after finishing your food or drink.
  • Showering or swimming.
  • Alone in a separate room or space.
  • Receiving personal hygiene or personal care services, such as a facial or a shave—services that can’t be done without removing your mask.

Exemptions to the Masks Requirements

The revised Health Officer Order issued on January 10, 2022 says the masking requirements must be in effect by January 17th. The County Health Department also says that some exceptions apply and states that these individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:

  • Those younger than two years old because there’s a risk of suffocation;
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with an individual who’s hearing is impaired, and where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • Anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask and includes those people 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; and
  • Anyone 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.

What About Rules for the Workplace?

Workplace safety and health regulations in California require employers to take action to protect workers potentially exposed to infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Cal/OSHA has provided guidance to help California employers comply with the requirements and to provide workers information on how to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

For businesses in Los Angeles County, in the workplace, all workers must follow the most protective mask requirements as stated by Cal/OSHA and the County Health Officer Order.

The COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards are still in effect and were updated in December 2021 to include minor revisions related to returning to work after close contact. These revisions went into effect on January 14, 2022.

In addition, California employers must follow public health orders on COVID-19. The latest order from the California Department of Public Health on January 5, 2022 requires the use of face coverings by all employees when indoors. There’s additional information on the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards in Cal/OSHA’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Also. note that some employees may be exempt from wearing a mask in specific situations if alternative safety measures are in place. There are no updates to the order that says that certain employees may be exempt from wearing a mask when performing specific tasks that can’t feasibly be performed while wearing a mask. This is limited to the period of time when the tasks are actually being performed. The California Department of Public Health states that workers who can’t feasibly wear a mask while performing their work, and who are either unvaccinated or fully vaccinated and eligible for a dose of COVID-19 vaccine but haven’t yet received it, must be tested for COVID-19 at least twice per week.

And fully-vaccinated employees who can’t feasibly perform their job while wearing a mask, and who’ve had a COVID booster shot or who aren’t yet eligible for a booster, should test at least once a week.

Contact Us

For help with the mask requirements and regulations in your business, contact us today.

We can help your business develop an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program, as well as policies and procedures that take into account the new emergency regulation and the proposed regulations if and when they are approved.

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