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February 2022: California Universal Masking Requirement Expires

15 Feb


Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of California

What happened?|
In our previous communication, we informed you that California reinstated the indoor mask mandate from January 15, 2021, to February 15, 2022. This is a continuing update to that mandate.

What are the details?
In January 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) extended universal masking indoors through February 15, 2022, due to a continued COVID-19 surge. In advance of the expiration, Governor Newsom announced that universal masking would not be extended again. The CDPH also published mask guidance for after February 15, 2022.

Effective February 16, 2022, universal indoor masking will end. However, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will still be required to wear masks in the following indoor settings:

  • On public transit
  • Indoors in K-12 schools and childcare
  • Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
  • Healthcare settings
  • State and local correction facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long-term care settings and adult and senior care facilities

In addition, unvaccinated individuals will be required to wear masks in indoor public settings and businesses. Vaccinated individuals are recommended, but will not be required, to wear masks indoors when the risk may be high.

The CDPH guidance states that for businesses where only unvaccinated individuals must wear masks, the business 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.
  • Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask.
  • Require all patrons to wear masks.

Cal/OSHA’s Amended COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) went into effect on January 14, 2022. Under the current ETS, unvaccinated individuals in the workplace must wear a mask. If an employer is not tracking vaccination status, then it must treat all employees as unvaccinated – meaning all employees would have to wear a mask. Employers should be mindful of other mask requirements under the ETS, including, but not limited to, screening, return to work, outbreak situations, and when required by the CDPH.

For more information, please see the links below:

CDPH Mask Guidance


What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and continue to monitor local health departments in case there are any changes in their city/county.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's California PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.

This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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