Mask Mandate Rollback in California Update: Employer Guidance on Non-Vaccinated Employees

Read more for details about this change as well as what has not in terms of face coverings, such as in specific high-risk settings.

This blog post can also be found on our Coronavirus Resource Center.

The State of California further relaxed regulations around masking on February 28, 2022. This latest change, accomplished via executive order, specifically suspended Title 8, 3205 (c)(6)(A) which is the subsection of the ETS that requires non vaccinated employees to wear masks at work. Some confusion remained for employers regarding the suspended wording that still appears in the ETS posted on the California OSHA website. That wording is now suspended and unenforceable. The executive order also included the fact that the State is “still highly recommending” that non vaccinated workers wear masks at work.

n95 masks

Although this change has occurred, all other face covering requirements (CDPH isolation and quarantine, outbreak, and major outbreak) will still apply. For more information, see the CDPH isolation and quarantine guidance. Employees will also still have to wear face coverings in specified high-risk settings that CDPH has identified.

Finally, employers must also still follow local county and city requirements which are more restrictive than Title 8, 3205.

Regulation Changes from the CDPH Must Be Monitored by Employers

California OSHA tied some (but not all) of their face-covering requirements to CDPH regulation and recommendation changes. This means that employers will also have to monitor regulation changes from the CDPH.

For now, employers within the following industries will be required to continue enforcing indoor mask and face-covering measures for both employees and visitors:

  • On public transit
  • Indoors in K-12 schools and childcare centers (through March 11th)
  • Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
  • Healthcare settings
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long-term care settings and adult and senior care facilities

Cal OSHA 3205, 3205.1, 3205.2, 3205.3, and 3205.4 (the emergency temporary standard) are still in force, and while they allow for changes along with CDPH changes, there are still elements within the ETS mentioned outside of CDPH face-covering guidelines that will presumably continue to be required and enforced.

Here are guidelines for face coverings from Cal OSHA which may continue to be enforced:
  • Face covers must still be worn by both screeners and those being screened at indoor screening stations [3205(c)(2)(B)].
  • Unvaccinated employees can still ask for N95 respirators for voluntary use [3205(c)(5)(E)].
  • All employees can still request face coverings regardless of vaccination status [3205(c)(6)(H)].
  • Mask and respirator provision during outbreaks as found in 3205.1(d)(1-2) has not changed.
  • Respirator provision requirements during large outbreaks as found in 3205.2(c)(1) remain.
  • Provision of face coverings in employer-provided housing as outlined in 3205.3(d) remains.
  • Provision of face coverings and respirators as outlined in 3205.4(c) has not changed.

If you have questions about these changes and how they will affect you, please feel free to contact your Woodruff Sawyer account team.



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