Employment Law Alert: Updated Masking Guidelines for California Employers

Effective March 1, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)’s Guidance for the Use of Face Masks lifted the universal indoor mask requirement for all persons regardless of vaccination status, but still strongly recommends that individuals continue to mask while in indoor public settings and businesses. Masks are still required in specified high-risk settings, regardless of vaccination status, including indoors in K-12 schools (through March 11, 2022), public transit, emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers, healthcare settings, correctional facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, and long term care settings and adult and senior care facilities.

Following the CDPH’s release of its updated masking guidance, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order revising the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to align it with the CDPH’s updated guidance. Under the Governor’s executive order, effective March 1, the ETS no longer requires employers to ensure that unvaccinated employees wear a mask in the workplace. The other portions of the ETS remain unchanged under the order and employers must continue to comply with the ETS. The executive order extends the current ETS through May 5, 2022.

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