February 6, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 37

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February 03, 2023

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Los Angeles County Imposes Indoor Mask Requirement on Fully Vaccinated

On Friday, July 16, 2021, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) issued a health order requiring all individuals regardless of vaccination status to wear face coverings in “[a]ll indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and businesses.”  The order’s list of locations in which all individuals must wear face coverings includes “offices, retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, and state and local government offices serving the public.”

The LACDPH health order states that even fully-vaccinated individuals must wear masks, in part because “community transmission of COVID-19 has rapidly increased from Low to Substantial in one month” (since June 15, 2021), when California reopened. The order became effective as of Saturday, July 17, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in place until the LACDPH revises, rescinds, or amends it.

To comply with the order, businesses must take the following steps:

  • Require all employees to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status

  • Require all patrons to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status

  • “Post clearly visible and easy to read signage, with or without having an employee present, at all entry points for indoor and outdoor settings to communicate the masking requirements for patrons.”

  • Test for COVID-19 at least twice per week all employees “who cannot feasibly wear a mask while performing their work.” According to the LACDPH’s COVID-19 Masks webpage, these individuals include “[w]orkers in situations where a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by a workplace risk assessment,” as well as “[a]nyone instructed not to wear a mask by their medical provider.”

The LACDPH already is receiving some pushback. News organizations are reporting that the sheriff of Los Angeles County announced he would not enforce the order and instead would ask for voluntary compliance.

As of the publication date of this article, no other California counties have mandated the use of face coverings for fully-vaccinated individuals, and the order is more stringent than California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently revised Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). However, some counties, including those in the San Francisco Bay Area, are recommending that “everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places to ensure easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those settings and as an extra precautionary measure for all.” These counties are doing so because COVID-19 cases are rising locally and because the Delta variant is highly transmissible.

© 2023, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 200

About this Author

Charles Thompson, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Employment Law Attorney

Charles L. Thompson IV counsels and defends employers in wrongful termination, discrimination, and other employment-related matters.  These areas include trade secrets and unfair competition, California and federal leaves of absence, ADA compliance, and wage and hour compliance.

Charles also represents employers in traditional labor law matters. He advises and represents employers in collective bargaining. He also represents employers in matters before the National Labor Relations Board, including in unfair labor practice and representation...

Karen Tynan, employment lawyer, Ogletree Deakins
Of Counsel

Karen Tynan is an of counsel attorney in the Sacramento office of Ogletree Deakins. Karen is originally from the state of Georgia, and after graduating with honors from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, she worked for Chevron Shipping Company for ten years – sailing as a ship's officer on oil tankers rising to the rank of Chief Officer with her Unlimited Master’s License as well as San Francisco Bay pilotage endorsement.  Karen was the highest ranking woman in the Chevron fleet when she left her seafaring life.  This maritime and petroleum experience is unique among employment...

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