Mask Up, Los Angeles: What Employers Need to Know

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Fisher Phillips

Given the recent uptick in positive cases in the local area, Los Angeles County is reinstating its mask mandate regardless of vaccination status effective Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m. This latest development will impact employers throughout the region, requiring you to take proactive steps in order to comply with new local health protocols. What do you need to know about this new mandate – and what do you need to do?

The New Mask Mandate in a Nutshell

Though some exceptions and exemptions will apply (e.g., while eating or drinking, children under two years old, etc.), we anticipate this reinstatement of masking means that everyone – even those who are fully vaccinated – will need to wear masks while indoors. We also anticipate this also means that you will have to reinstate masking rules in the workplace in all indoor settings despite Cal/OSHA’s ETS and the current guidance from the CDPH. In other words, you likely be returning to masking requirements that were in place prior to the changes on June 15 and 17.

The modified Health Officer Order will be available online on Friday, July 16, and as noted above, it will become effective at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 17.

What Should You Do?

What steps should employers take in Los Angeles County to comply with the new mask mandate?

  • Communicate to employees that, masks will be required in the workplace in all indoor settings effective July 17, regardless of vaccination status, until further notice.
  • Update postings to reflect that all those entering indoor spaces will be required to wear a mask indoors.
  • Implement a stand-alone addendum or revise face mask or other COVID-19 policies applicable in Los Angeles County to reflect the updated requirements.

Below are the exceptions and exemptions that we anticipate will generally apply to masking indoors:

  • When alone in a room;
  • While eating or drinking, so long as there is six feet distance and sufficient outdoor air supply as feasible; and
  • Those who cannot wear masks due to a medical or mental health condition or disability, or who are hearing-impaired or communicating with a hearing-impaired person.

Conclusion

Currently, it appears that masks will still not be required outdoors. However, this mask mandate is a good reminder that although the COVID-19 situation has improved, we are not in the clear yet. With the new Delta variant and many still unvaccinated, COVID-19 protocols are back in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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