A new County of Los Angeles COVID-19 Health Officer Order (“HOO”) went into effect this past Saturday, July 31st. The new HOO follows the previous County Order from July 17th, which required face coverings for everyone while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant. The highlights of the new HOO are summarized below.
Face Coverings. Face coverings are required for everyone, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and public and private businesses. Exceptions to the mask mandate include the following:
- When actively eating or drinking, provided they are seated at a table or positioned at a stationary counter or place;
- When showering or engaging in personal hygiene or a personal care service that requires the removal of the face-covering;
- When alone in a separate room, office, or interior space;
- If someone has a disability, they may wear a non-restrictive alternative such as a clear mask, a cloth mask with a clear plastic panel, or a face shield with a drape that is form-fitting under the chin;
- When performing specific tasks which cannot feasibly be performed while wearing a mask;
- Workers in a situation where a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by a workplace risk assessment; and
- Children under the age of two.
Employers must require all employees, patrons, and guests to follow the masking requirements.
The HOO also recommends wearing respirators (N95 or KN95) or two masks in indoor settings where there is close contact with other people who may not be vaccinated.
Postings & Notice. Businesses, venue operators, and hosts must implement measures to clearly communicate to non-employees the masking requirements on their premises. Such communications must include clearly visible and easy-to-read signage, with or without having an employee present, at all entry points for indoor and outdoor settings to communicate the masking requirements for patrons and guests.
Mandatory Reporting of COVID Outbreaks. Employers must continue to report “COVID-19 Outbreaks,” defined as three or more cases of COVID-19 among their employees within fourteen days, to the Department of Public Health.
Best Practice Guidance. Employers are strongly urged to follow the LACDPH Best Practice Guidance, available here.
High-Risk Individuals. Persons at risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19 (e.g., unvaccinated older adults and unvaccinated individuals with health risks) and members of their household are encouraged to defer participating in activities with non-household members where masking and social distancing will be difficult.
Encourage Outdoor Activities. Businesses are urged to consider moving operations or activities outdoors where feasible.
Health Care and High-Risk Congregate Settings. The HOO incorporates the California Department of Public Health’s July 26th Order pertaining to health care and high-risk congregate settings. The July 26th Order requires covered employers to verify the vaccination status of all workers and test unvaccinated workers for COVID-19 at certain intervals.
We will continue to monitor major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at www.brgslaw.com.
Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles H.W. Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP