Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Feb 17, 2022

CALIFORNIA: Masks no longer required for most vaccinated workers

COVID-19DisabilitySafety and Health 

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) order that required everyone to wear masks in indoor public settings regardless of whether they were vaccinated against COVID-19 (coronavirus) expired on February 15, 2022, but the order still requires unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors.

As we previously reported, the CDPH originally set the universal indoor mask mandate to last from December 15, 2021, through January 15, 2022, but later extended it through February 15, 2022. Even though the universal mandate expired, CDPH’s latest order (February 7, 2022) and Face Coverings Q&A web page (updated February 16, 2022) confirm that unvaccinated people are still required to wear masks in all indoor public settings, including workplaces. (Fully vaccinated people are still required to wear masks in certain settings, such as public transit, schools, and healthcare.)

Some people are still exempt from indoor mask requirements, including people who have a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a mask, and people who are hearing impaired and rely on seeing someone’s mouth to communicate. There are also still some circumstances where unvaccinated people can remove their mask, like when actively eating or drinking, or working alone in a closed room.

Tips: Interestingly, the order doesn’t consider booster status in determining whether a mask is required. Keep in mind that you still have to follow the requirements of Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS), which include providing face coverings to your unvaccinated employees and making sure they wear them. Some jurisdictions might still have local mask mandates that require fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks, so be sure to monitor the news in your local area. Contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney if you have any questions about California’s masking requirements.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.