To Mask or Not to Mask?


We hate to be the “repeaters of bad news” but you’ve likely seen the recent press announcements of several CA cities and counties requiring or recommending that all persons (vaccinated and unvaccinated) wear a mask while indoors.  Last Friday, Los Angeles County mandated indoor masking.  The Sacramento Bee reported that seven Bay Area counties’ health offices recommended the public wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma, as well as the city of Berkeley. Sacramento, Yolo and Fresno counties issued similar recommendations. Over 50% of the state’s population is now in a mask recommended zone.

The Cal OSHA ETS rules are still applicable in those counties where masking is not mandated, stating that fully vaccinated employees do not have to wear face coverings indoors.  For example, the Sacramento County Public Health Officer recommended that fully vaccinated people should once again start wearing a face mask indoors in settings where vaccination verification is not required and the vaccination status of others is unknown.  They use the example of a public space such as a grocery store or restaurant because the vaccination status of others is unknown. You can find the recommendation here.

Keep in mind this is just a recommendation and if you are verifying vaccination status, the recommendation does not necessarily apply.  All that said, the employer may set a higher standard for any COVID-19 practice and could require that all employees wear masks indoors.  We will keep you apprised of any new changes or mandates.

We know it’s yet another tedious time for employers to monitor not only their employees, but also the public who enter their sites.   We feel your pain.  Here’s our informal insight: The subjects of most of our client calls/emails this spring and early summer have been about employees not wanting to return to work or be vaccinated. However, in the last three weeks the majority of our client calls have been about employers dealing with employees who tested positive for COVID-19.  Over 90% of the COVID-19 positive employees we have received calls about were unvaccinated.