Employment Law Bulletin | March 3, 2022

New Orders Loosen Mask Requirements for the General Public and Employees In Most Workplaces

Effective March 1, 2022, the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) face covering requirements for the general public and most workplaces have been downgraded from mandatory to a “strong recommendation” regardless of vaccination status.  Sonoma County is following the state guidance and has dropped its more restrictive order.

Universal masking is still required in the following specified high-risk settings:

  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare (through March 11, 2022)
  • On public transit
  • Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
  • Healthcare settings
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long Term Care Settings & Adult and Senior Care Facilities

Other workplace scenarios where mandatory face coverings are required regardless of vaccination status include:

  • employers with onsite indoor health screenings:  screeners and the employees being screened must wear face coverings
  • if there is an “outbreak” or “major outbreak” (as defined by Title 8 California Code of Regulations sections 3205.1 and 3205.2) employees in the exposed group must wear face coverings when indoors
  • employees who have had a COVID-19 exposure and are exempt from quarantine or are ending their quarantine after Day 5 per the Cal-OSHA COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines
  • employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are returning to work after day 5 per the Cal-OSHA COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines.

While masking is no longer mandatory in most workplaces, employers may impose their own face covering requirements.  Employees must also be permitted to wear face coverings if they wish to do so.

The Cal-OSHA COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine guidelines published on January 14, 2022 remain in effect for employees who test positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to someone with COVID-19.

While the CDPH, Cal-OSHA and Sonoma County are now in line with regard to face covering requirements, some California cities and counties continue to have their own requirements.  Be sure to check your local jurisdiction or contact an SMT employment attorney if you need assistance.

Lisa Ann Hilario

No Se Habla Español?

SMT’s employment attorneys can provide your company with employment policies, forms and employee disciplinary documentation in Spanish. Providing such important information to employees in the language they understand is critical to employee performance, providing a welcoming diverse work environment, and protecting your company against employment claims. Contact an SMT attorney today to get started.

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
Employment Law Group

Lisa Ann Hilario | Kari Brown

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