Masks in Daily California Life, Workplace

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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California has now changed its mask requirements to match CDC guidance.

Masks in daily life

Vaccinated people do not need to wear masks, except in the following settings where masks are required for everyone:

  • Public transit
  • Healthcare settings (including long term care facilities)
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare, and other youth settings
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters,emergency shelters, and cooling centers

Unvaccinated people are required to wear masks in indoor public settings and businesses, like:

  • Retail
  • Restaurants
  • Theaters
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Meetings
  • State and local government offices that serve the public

See CDPH’s Face Coverings Q&A to learn more about where masks are still required or recommended.

Read Get the Most out of Masking to learn how a mask can best protect you.

Mask-wearing exemptions

The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:

  • Children under two years old, due to the risk of suffocation.
  • People with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that precludes wearing a mask. This includes those for whom a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove a mask without assistance.
  • Those who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, and seeing the mouth is essential for communication.
  • People for whom wearing a mask would create a risk as they work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

See complete mask exemptions details at CDPH’s Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.

Masks in the workplace

  • Cal/OSHA has aligned workplace mask requirements with general mask guidance from the California Department of Public Health.
  • Masks are not required outdoors (except during outbreaks), regardless of vaccination status, though workers should be trained for outdoor use of face coverings.
  • Fully-vaccinated employees do not need to wear masks indoors, but employers must document their vaccination status. 
    • There are some settings where masks are required regardless of vaccination status. In outbreaks, all employees must wear masks indoors and outdoors when six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Employers must provide unvaccinated employees with NIOSH-certified respirator masks for voluntary use when working indoors or in a vehicle with others, upon request.

For more information, see Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).

Guidance for businesses

In settings where masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals, businesses, venue operators, or hosts may choose to:

  • Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry unless otherwise exempt, OR
  • Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask, OR 
  • Require all patrons to wear masks.

No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.


Category: COVID-19, CDC