Action Required: New Public Health Guidance for the use of Facemasks

On June 18, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued guidance mandating individuals in California wear a facemask in certain settings.

Regarding workplaces, the CDPH guidance specifies that individuals engaged in work, whether at the workplace or offsite, must wear face coverings when:

  1. Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
  2. Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
  3. Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
  4. Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
  5. In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.

This new CDPH guidance applies to all workplaces, including offices, packing houses, and processing facilities that may or may not be visited by the public. The guidance applies even if your workplace is not visited by the public, especially in workplaces that have hallways, elevators, common areas, and other work areas that do not allow for social distancing of six feet.

The CDPH guidance is enforceable by the State and local jurisdictions as a misdemeanor offense and, upon conviction, may be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by imprisonment of up to six months, or fine and imprisonment. Although some counties have indicated that local law enforcement may not enforce the CDPH guidance, it is prudent that employers take action to ensure that all CDPH and OSHA guidelines for COVID-19 are adhered to in the workplace.

Local jurisdictions may also impose orders regarding the wearing of masks that are more restrictive than the CDPH’s order. It is important to continue adhering to local orders.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I own a packing house that is not open to the general public. Does this guidance apply?

Yes. This guidance applies to all workplaces, even if not open to the public. If social distancing of six feet is not possible for all employees, face masks must be worn. Vendors are considered members of the public so even though your business is not open to the general public, members of the public may come in contact with your employees.

  1. I have a cafeteria on site for my employees. How does this guidance apply?

The CDPH guidance applies to the employees making and serving the food in the cafeteria, as well as employees eating in the cafeteria. Employees making and serving the food should be wearing

facemasks at all times. Cafeterias and common areas used for meals should be configured to allow for social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Employees seated in the cafeteria or common area must wear a mask except while 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.


Start typing and press Enter to search