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On July 21, 2021, the City of Pasadena health officer issued an order titled, “Order for Wearing of Face Masks in Public Settings.”   As did the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s (LACDPH) health order of the previous week, the City of Pasadena’s health order requires all individuals “regardless of vaccination status” to wear face coverings in “all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and businesses.” The order’s list of locations in which all individuals must wear face coverings includes “offices, retail, restaurants and bars, theaters, family entertainment centers, conference centers, and state and local government offices serving the public.”

The health order requires that even fully-vaccinated individuals wear masks, in part, because “the average daily incident case rate of COVID-19 in the City of Pasadena has increased by 586%” since June 15, 2021, when California reopened. The order also emphasizes that it “takes precedence over the more permissive [Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards] regarding employee face masks.” The order became effective as of Thursday, July 22, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and will remains in effect until the health officer rescinds it in writing.

To comply with the order, businesses must take the following steps:

  • Require all employees to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status
  • Require all patrons to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status
  • “Make face masks available to patrons”
  • “Post clearly visible and easy-to-read signage at all entry points for indoor and outdoor settings to communicate the masking requirements to all patrons”
  • Test for COVID-19 at least twice per week all employees “who cannot feasibly wear a mask while performing their work.”

The order specifically exempts the following employees from the face covering mandate:

  • “Persons who are working alone in a closed office or room”
  • “Persons who are actively eating and/or drinking”
  • “[E]mployees performing specific tasks which cannot feasibly be performed while wearing a mask. This exception is limited to the period of time in which such tasks are actually being performed.”

As of the publication date of this article, in California only the County of Los Angeles and the City of Pasadena have mandated the use of face coverings for fully-vaccinated individuals. However, some counties, including those in the San Francisco Bay Area, are recommending that “everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places to ensure easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those settings and as an extra precautionary measure for all.”

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Cal/OSHA ETS. We will post updates on the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center and our California and Workplace Safety and Health blogs. Important information for employers also is available via the firm’s webinar and podcasts programs.

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