Use of facial coverings required in state
The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of face coverings, which broadly requires the use of face coverings for both members of the public and workers in all public and workplace settings where there is a high risk of exposure.
People in California must wear face coverings when they are engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
• Interacting in-person with any member of the public
• Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time
• Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others
• Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities
• In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance
• Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.
Complete details, including all requirements and exemptions to these rules, can be found in the guidance. Face coverings are strongly encouraged in other circumstances, and employers can implement additional face covering requirements in fulfilling their obligation to provide workers with a safe and healthful workplace. Employers should provide face coverings to workers or reimburse workers for the reasonable cost of obtaining them.
Employers should develop an accommodation policy for any worker who meets one of the exemptions from wearing a face covering. If a worker who would otherwise be required to wear a face covering because of frequent contact with others cannot wear one due to a medical condition, they should be provided with a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape attached to the bottom edge, if feasible, and if the medical condition permits it.
Businesses that are open to the public should be cognizant of the exemptions to wearing face coverings in the CDPH Face Covering Guidance and may not exclude any member of the public for not wearing a face covering if that person is complying with the guidance. Businesses will need to develop policies for handling these exemptions among customers, clients, visitors, and workers.