The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health has again issued a revised Public Health Order (Order) that significantly narrows Los Angeles County’s mask mandate, effective March 4, 2022. As explained in the Order, the updates are largely aimed at relaxing masking requirements to align with Executive Order N-5-22 and California Department of Public Health guidance issued February 28, 2022. The primary revisions implemented by the Order are summarized below:
- Masking Requirements:
- Masking Is Optional in Most Settings: Mask wearing is not required, regardless of vaccine status, in indoor public settings and businesses. However, businesses, venue operators, and hosts may choose to require masking regardless of vaccination status by patrons, visitors, attendees, and workers as a strategy to reduce the risk of transmission at their site(s). The Order provides that masks are “strongly recommended” in these settings.
- Masking Continues to Be Required in Certain High-Transmission Settings: Masks continue to be required for certain identified indoor settings posing higher risks for transmission of COVID-19, including at public transit transportation hubs and all healthcare settings, including long-term care and adult and senior care facilities, correctional facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, and emergency shelters. Masks also continue to be required on public transit.
- Masking Is Required in K-12 Schools Through March 11, 2022: Masks continue to be required in K-12 schools and childcare facilities at this time; however, beginning March 12, 2022, masks will continue to be recommended but will not be required in K-12 schools or childcare facilities.
- Pre-Entry Verification: Pre-entry verification is no longer required at most business establishments, including bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges. However, while pre-entry verification of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 viral test result is not required, it is recommended. Businesses, venue operators, and hosts may choose to require pre-entry verification of COVID-19 vaccination, pre-entry verification of a negative COVID-19 viral test result, or both, regardless of masking.
- Outdoor Mega Events: Pre-entry vaccination or recent negative test verification is not required for outdoor Mega Event operators (i.e., operators of outdoor events with 10,000 or more attendees).
- Indoor Mega Events: Pre-entry vaccination or recent negative test verification for attendees continues to be required for indoor Mega Event operators (i.e., operators of indoor events with 1,000 or more attendees).
- Employers Required to Provide Medical Grade Masks or Respirators: Employers continue to be required to offer medical grade masks or respirators to employees who work indoors and in contact with other workers, customers, or members of the public in settings where there is optional masking.
- Establishments Must Permit Mask Wearing: No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participating in an activity or entry into a business.
- Continuing Obligation to Cooperate: Workplaces with active outbreaks continue to be required to cooperate with Public Health’s investigation of the outbreak.
As explained above, the Order eliminates many of the masking requirements previously applicable to employers and the public, including those implemented as recently as February 25, 2022, and identified in our earlier blog post. Employers are encouraged to monitor state and local regulations and consult with counsel regarding any questions.