Los Angeles County Responds to Increased COVID-19 Deaths With New Mask Mandate

On July 17, 2021, at 11:59 p.m., a new mask mandate goes into effect for all of Los Angeles County. LA County consists of 88 cities, 140 unincorporated areas, and communities within the City of LA.

The mandate requires that ALL persons wear an approved mask while indoors at public settings and businesses, regardless of vaccination status. According to the revised Cal-OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards, approved masks include surgical masks, a medical procedure mask, a respirator worn voluntarily, a mask made of a tightly woven fabric or non-woven material at least 2 layers thick. There can be no visible holes or openings, and the mask must cover the nose and mouth.

LA County has experienced a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 deaths. Since California reopened on June 15, 2021, the County has had as high as 1,537 new cases in a day. Due to this rapid increase in the positivity rate, the LA County Public Health Department chose to re-implement masking requirements and again push people to receive the vaccination. Approximately 4 million residents in LA County remain unvaccinated. This number, combined with the concerns relating to the Delta variant that spreads more easily than the prior variants, was the reason for the mandate.

The revised Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards allow for some relaxed face covering rules for fully vaccinated employees. With this new mask mandate, employers with operations in LA County should review their current COVID-19 Prevention Program and face covering protocols to comply with this new order. Employers Council members can contact the California Legal Services team at CAInfo@employerscouncil.org. Employers in all states should be aware of changing restrictions as the rising cases across the country may lead to new measures.