California reinstates mandates masks for indoor public spaces,
effective Dec 15, 2021 – Feb 15, 2022.

“Bacteria Bear” outside the Governor’s office in the Capitol, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2021.

UPDATED – January 11, 2022

What’s New?

Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a briefing on Monday, “We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy. Frankly, I am too,” Ghaly said. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked and can work.”

The mandate states that a mask must be worn when inside of a PUBLIC place, but there was no mention of what that includes. Do public places include office environments? Or is it just places like restaurants, stores, hotels, transportation, schools, etc.?

State health officials also announced other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including testing requirements and recommendations for large events and travel. Unvaccinated people attending events with 1,000 people or more will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test — an antigen test taken within 24 hours, or a PCR test taken within 48.

Additionally, the state is recommending travelers who visit or return to California get tested within five days of arrival.

What does this mean for your company?

If your company is one that services the public, like a restaurant, hotel, shop, etc., you are now expected to require all your customers to wear a mask while in your space. This is on top of you requiring your employees to wear a mask.

But what if you are a company that does not provide a service to the public but instead, employs workers in an office environment? The mandate is not clear about whether an office space is considered “public” or not.

So what should an employer with an office environment do? Here are a few options to consider. Please note, this is not legal advice. If you have concerns about the legal actions you need to take, please contact your legal advisor or counsel.

  • Require masks for your works while indoors (but not while eating or drinking). Make sure you provide a place where extra masks are available for your employees, contractors, vistors, etc.
  • If you have already brought your whole (or a portion of the) staff back into the office, consider:
    • creating hybrid shifts to reduce the number of workers in the space at the same time.
    • provide the option for your workers to work remotely (if you can).
  • You could also choose to not require masks, as an office space could not be considered public. However, you may need to require no visitors during the mandate or at the very list have a separate visitor room/section. And do you really want to be that company who potentially gets their employee population sick (or worst) and during the holidays too?

Who will be enforcing the statewide mask mandate?

Since the enforcement happens on the local level, and through previous reporting, it’s known that citations for not following mandates are very rare.

With that being said…

Let’s do our part!

With the holidays already upon us, let’s do our part in helping slow down the spreading of COVID19 and all the variants.

  • Wear your mask in public
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean your workspace and other areas often
  • Keep social distancing
  • Wear a CLEAN or NEW mask

We all want to be able to celebrate the holidays with our loved ones…healthy and alive. So let’s do our part to support our community.