Bay Area Counties Mandate a Return to Indoor Masking

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Yesterday, the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley announced a new health order requiring everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks when in indoor, public settings, beginning today, August 3, 2021. This is an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 

As an employer, it’s important to know where this mandate does and does not apply. Public settings where face coverings must be worn include, but are not limited to:

  • Business offices
  • Retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Theaters 
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Meeting rooms
  • State and local government facilities where services are provided to the public.

This order does not apply to people in the following circumstances:

  • When alone in a room (this applies to a private office or conference room within a business setting)
  • When actively eating or drinking
  • When swimming or showering
  • When receiving care or other service that requires removal of the face covering, including by way of example and without limitation, medical care requiring exposure of the nose or mouth, cosmetic services involving the face, and dental procedures.
  • When exempt from wearing face coverings under the State Face Covering Guidance or other applicable California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance. 

Employers are responsible for ensuring their employees are aware of this mandate and, ultimately, enforcing it as well. 

Remember, employers are also able to request vaccination status from their employees, and even require vaccination in order to be in the workplace. Vaccination status does not change this mandate at all, but as indicated in the original press release, health officials continue to encourage vaccination for all who are able to be vaccinated.  

If you need some help in implementing your COVID-19 practices, reach out to us at