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21 Dec

December 2021: California Re-issues Mask Mandate Until January 15, 2022

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Update Applicable to:
All businesses in the state of California provide public indoor spaces.

What happened?
Masks are required for all individuals in all indoor public settings, regardless of the vaccination status from December 15, 2021, through January 15, 2022 (surgical masks or higher-level respirators are recommended).

What are the details?
Effective December 15, 2021, masks are required for all individuals in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status until January 15, 2022.

The order does not define “indoor public setting”; the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has yet to publish guidance to provide clarification on this issue”

Per the mandated order, individuals can be exempt for the following reasons:

  • Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

CDPH also issued a new travel advisory effective immediately to recommend that all travelers arriving in California test for COVID-19 within three to five days after arrival, regardless of their vaccination status.  

The updated CDPH guidance only applies to those local health jurisdictions that do not already have an existing indoor masking requirement in public settings that applies irrespective of individuals’ vaccine status. For local health jurisdictions that had pre-existing masking requirements irrespective of vaccine status, in indoor public settings, prior to December 13, 2021, those local health orders continue to apply. Local health jurisdictions must either follow current CDPH guidance or adopt a local order described above that was in effect prior to December 13, 2021.”

For more information, please see the links below:

California Indoor Mask Mandate Order and Guidance

Face Coverings Q&A

CDPH Travel Advisory

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and prepare to make immediate adjustments to their mask policies so that they comply with the new mandate.

Employers may also contact their local county public health department for questions regarding this mandate.