The same week that California’s third round of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave went into effect, the Governor released the state’s strategy for the endemic phase of COVID-19.

Aligning with the new endemic strategy, on February 28, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued revised guidance regarding masks. Effective March 1, 2022, vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks in public settings, though it is still strongly recommended.

To address the fact that Cal/OSHA’s Amended COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) still required unvaccinated individuals in the workplace to wear a mask, the Governor issued an Executive Order, which suspends the general requirement that unvaccinated workers wear face coverings when indoors. In doing so, the Governor brings the ETS into alignment with the CDPH guidance. This allows employers to follow the CDPH guidance unless a more stringent local order applies. Nevertheless, employers should keep in mind that employees may still be required to wear face coverings under CDPH’s isolation and quarantine recommendations.

Universal masking is still required under the CDPH guidance in the following indoor settings:

  • Indoors in K-12 schools and childcare facilities (this will be lifted effective March 11, 2022)
  • On public transit
  • Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
  • Health care settings
  • State and local correction facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long term care settings and adult senior care facilities

Employers should continue to monitor local health departments, the California Department of Public Health, and Cal/OSHA for changes to COVID-19 workplace requirements. Employers can check Jackson Lewis’ COVID-19 Advisor for updates on workplace requirements in California and around the country.

If you have questions about COVID-19 workplace requirements or related issues, contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.