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Universal Indoor Mask-Wearing Mandate is Back, Effective August 3, 2021

- Richard Liu, Esq. (Managing Counsel), Neo Chen (Law Clerk)

Yesterday afternoon, various counties in California, including the Counties of Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and the City of Berkeley have issued face covering mandates, requiring everyone to wear face coverings in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. The orders are to take effect immediately, starting today (orders accessible here). The face covering mandate would not apply if the employee (1) is alone in a separate room or office, (2) is eating or drinking, or (3) has requested reasonable accommodation.

Further, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health are both recommending the same, while Los Angeles County’s mandate on wearing face coverings remains in effect.

What does this mean for businesses that have operation or employees in California?

In light of these changes, as well as the sudden spike in COVID cases and COVID-related hospitalizations, companies with California operation and/or California employees should consider issuing a policy update requiring employees wear face coverings indoors. This will decrease the risk of unnecessary COVID-related legal claims and lower the chance of any potential COVID outbreak caused by the Delta variant.

Meanwhile, companies should continue to inform their employees to follow the latest guidelines issued by Cal/OSHA, which include the following:

  • Encourage employee vaccination.

  • Provide face coverings and respirators to employees upon request.

  • Ascertain vaccination records (only if your business has not done so already).

  • Provide COVID testing information to employees.

  • Maintain a written COVID-19 prevention program at work.

For more details of Cal/OSHA's latest guidelines, check out our recent article here.

Going forward

As always, we will continue to monitor any COVID-related polices and mandates. If you would like to receive timely updates, please contact us at to be added to our mailing list.


Richard Liu, Esq. is the Managing Counsel of ILS. He serves clients as a management-side defense lawyer specializing in employment and business litigation. Richard is also an expert on litigation prevention and compliance. He regularly advises Fortune 500 companies and startups on employment, labor, and commercial matters.

Email: | Phone: 626-344-8949

*Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal opinion and does not create any attorney-client relationship.


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