Vigilant Blog

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

Mar 03, 2022

West coast states ending indoor mask requirements

COVID-19Safety and Health 

California, Oregon, and Washington are ending indoor mask requirements this month for most situations. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that starting March 1, 2022, masks are no longer required for unvaccinated individuals in public indoor spaces and starting March 12, 2022, masks will no longer be required in schools. Oregon and Washington aren’t far behind. Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that starting March 12, 2022, masks will no longer be required in most indoor settings, including schools, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced the same timeline.

In all three states, face coverings will still be required in high transmission settings such as health care settings and long-term care facilities. State policies don’t change federal requirements, which still require face coverings on public transit.

Cal/OSHA has reminded employers that they must follow public health orders and refers businesses to the latest order from the California Department of Public Health which includes the updated masking guidance. Oregon OSHA has confirmed that it will no longer enforce the general indoor masking rules as of March 12, 2022. Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and Department of Health (DOH) haven’t yet updated their websites, but we anticipate they will do so.

At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has changed its recommendations for general masking indoors. The CDC is taking a county by county approach to general mask recommendations based on COVID-19 (coronavirus) community levels. However, the existing recommendation to wear a mask for 10 days after exposure, a positive test, or when experiencing symptoms remains in place.

Tips: You may choose to continue to require masks in your workplace, but given mask fatigue among many workers, you may not want to. Now would be a good time to recommunicate what your remaining expectations are around COVID-19, such as staying home when experiencing symptoms and reporting positive tests. Vigilant has a new Legal Guide, At a Glance: COVID-19 Compliance in Oregon which can help keep you up to date on the evolving requirements. Similar Legal Guides for California and Washington are in the works. In the meantime, contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney or your Vigilant safety professional with any compliance questions.

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.