CSAC Bulletin Article

Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Use of Face Masks to Take Effect September 23

September 22, 2022

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updated guidance for the use of face masks that will take effect on September 23, 2022. For the general public, the updated guidance shifts the current strong recommendation of the use of face masks in indoor settings to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels masking recommendations. The guidance also aligns use of face masks in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers with current CDC recommendations, making masking optional when CDC community levels are low.

CDC COVID-19 Community Levels are separated by county and based on hospitalization rates, hospital bed occupancy, and COVID-19 case rates. Recommended actions for the all three community levels (low, medium, and high) are included in the updated guidance, and county community level status can be searched through the COVID-19 County Check search bar on the CDC’s website. Masking requirements remain in place for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in all healthcare settings, long-term care settings, and adult and senior care facilities.

Despite what level a community may be in, CDPH states that masks that offer the best fit and filtration (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s), are highly recommended, and remain a critical component of the state’s multi-layered approach for protection against COVID-19 infection. Further, CDPH is maintaining the requirement that businesses and venue operators, including K-12 school and childcare settings, must allow any individual to wear a mask if they desire to.

In workplaces, employers and employees are subject to either the CalOSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) or the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.

Finally, local health jurisdictions and entities may continue to implement additional requirements that go beyond this statewide guidance based on local circumstances.


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