California Governor Newson ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in "high-risk situations" after growing concerns that an increase in coronavirus cases has been caused by residents failing to voluntarily take that precaution. Due to sharp increases in the last two weeks in the number of hospitalizations for individuals with coronavirus-related problems, intensive care hospitalizations and deaths, the Governor has warned that the state could shut down again.  Newsom said in a statement: “California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing.”

The prior Face Coverings Guidance issued April 1, 2020 by Newson permitted Californians to choose to wear a cloth face covering when in public for essential activities like shopping at the grocery store. Of note, Los Angeles County has had stricter requirements since May 2020 requiring all residents to wear face coverings when in public and interacting with non-household members. In the updated Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings , Californians must wear face coverings when they are in "high-risk situations" listed below:

  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space (unless specifically exempted by the state);
  • In healthcare settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank (unless directed otherwise by an employee or healthcare provider);
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • While working whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:

  • Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
  • Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
  • Where any food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
  • Working in or walking in common areas (such as hallways, stairways, elevators and parking facilities);
  • In any room or enclosed area where other people (except if the person is a member of his/her own household) are present when unable to physically distance.

  • Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private care service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present; when no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended; or
  • While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.

Face coverings do not need to be worn if:

  • Person is 2 years or under;
  • Person has a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering; a non-restrictive alternative such as a face shield with a drape at the bottom edge is suggested for such individuals when on the job and having regular contact with others;
  • Person is hearing impaired or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired;
  • Wearing a face covering creates a risk to the person related to his/her work, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;
  • Obtaining a service involving the nose or face when removal of the face covering is necessary;
  • Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from persons not in their household;
  • Engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when the person is able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others; or
  • Persons who are incarcerated.

The Guidance also suggests the following regarding care of cloth face coverings:

  • Wash cloth face coverings frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily;
  • Place cloth face coverings in a separate bag or bin until they can be laundered;
  • Launder with detergent and hot water, and dry on a hot cycle;
  • If a cloth face covering must be re-worn before washing, wash hands after putting the covering on and avoid touching the face;
  • Discard cloth face coverings if they no longer cover the nose and mouth, have stretched out or damaged ties or straps, cannot stay on the face, or have holes or tears on the fabric.

We will continue to keep you updated on any 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
Janet Soultanian
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP