Compliance Matters TM
New California Mask Mandate Order Is Taking Effect Today- December 15, 2021
(COVID-19 Update)
On December 13, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced a revision to its Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings that will require all individuals to wear face coverings in “indoor public settings” regardless of vaccination status. This new order takes effect today December 15, 2021 – and is currently scheduled to expire on January 15, 2022.
For about half of California’s population, the CDPH’s new order doesn’t change already existing mandates, as several counties in the Bay Area, along with Los Angeles, Sacramento and Yolo counties, have maintained some form of indoor face covering mandate regardless of vaccination status since the late Summer months.
As we have reported on, the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (ETS) permit an employer to relax its face covering rules for fully vaccinated workers upon showing proof of full vaccination, so long as a stricter local order does not apply.
The Cal/OSHA ETS, however, requires employers to provide face coverings and require their use when subject to any new CDPH order. This means the new CDPH face covering guidance effectively eliminates the Cal/OSHA ETS face covering flexibility for “indoor public settings” for employers that weren’t already subject to a stricter local order.
Unfortunately, the order does not define “indoor public setting” and the new guidance published yesterday (December 14) also does not fully define what it means by “indoor public setting.” The new guidance, however, does update the exceptions to the CDPH order to include only those times when a person is alone in an office or room indoors, which suggests that this order applies to both public and non-public facing workplaces. Cal/OSHA also has yet to provide any formal guidance how the CDPH order impacts the ETS.
We will continue to monitor major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at

Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Matthew B. Golper
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP 
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