The California Department of Public Health clarified the requirement to wear a face covering at work - they must always be worn when outside of the home, except in very limited settings or when an individual falls under one of the exemptions. The most impactful change of the new requirements on our workplaces is that employees must wear a mask while indoors unless they are in an office or in a room alone. Employees working in shared spaces, private or public, must wear a mask regardless of social distancing precautions.
Employees in cubicles with three walls that are at least 5 feet high may remove their mask at times when working in the cubicle sitting down and not talking. If you have a workspace that you’re unsure about, please contact your safety rep or HR-Safety.
Our greater risk will continue to be conversations at common areas such as break rooms, bathrooms or hallways or while standing at someone's office door or neighboring cubicle. While in the workplace, if you leave your cubicle to pass through or enter common spaces (e.g., hallways, breakrooms, conference rooms, restrooms, etc.), then you must wear a face covering.
The other significant change is that eating or drinking with members of a different household/residence is no longer an exception to the requirement if you cannot maintain 6 feet of distance. Eating outside is encouraged when dining with people who are not part of your household.
People in California must wear face coverings when they are outside of the home, unless one of the exemptions below applies.
Individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings in the following specific settings:
- Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household.
- Persons who are working in an office or in a room alone.
- Persons who are actively eating or drinking provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.
- Persons who are outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing from others not in their household. Such persons must have a face covering with them at all times and must put it on if they are within 6 feet of others who are not in their household.
- Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
- Workers who are required to wear respiratory protection.
- Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.
The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:
- Persons younger than two years old. These very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. Such conditions are rare.
- 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 face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must continue to wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.