PUBLICATIONS

California Counties and Cities Issue Face Covering Requirements

Date   Apr 29, 2020

In the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, a number of counties and cities in California have issued Orders requiring residents and visitors to wear face coverings when in public. Additionally, many of the other counties that have not issued face covering mandates have strongly recommended that residents and visitors wear face coverings in public. Below is a summary of the requirements for each California county that has addressed the issue to date.

ALAMEDA, CONTRA COSTA, and HUMBOLDT COUNTIES

In mid-April 2020, the Health Officers for Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and Humboldt County issued Orders requiring all residents and workers in their respective counties to wear face coverings when conducting essential business and when around others outside of their immediate household. These include doctor appointments, grocery shopping, pharmacy visits, and riding on public transportation, among others.

Specifically, these Orders required face coverings in three main settings:

  1. When inside of or waiting in line to enter essential businesses and other businesses or facilities engaged in minimum basic operations, providing essential infrastructure, and providing essential government functions, when seeking healthcare from Healthcare Operations, and when waiting for or riding on public transportation and other types of shared transportation;

  2. Employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers of all Essential Businesses or those operating public transportation and other types of shared transportation when at work; and

  3. Workers engaged in Minimum Basic Operations, Essential Infrastructure work, and Essential Government Functions in areas where the public is present or likely to be and at any time when others are nearby.

Exceptions:

  • These Orders do not require that any child aged twelve years or younger wear a face covering and recommend that any child aged two years or younger should not wear one because of the risk of suffocation.

  • These Orders do not apply to people who are in their own cars alone or with members of their own household.

  • These Orders do not require people to wear face coverings while engaged in outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, bicycling or running, though they recommend that individuals carry a face covering with them and still require social distancing.

Humboldt County

In addition to the above requirements and exceptions, Humboldt County’s Face Covering Order requires drivers or operators of any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private care service or ride-sharing vehicle to wear a face covering while driving or operating such vehicle, regardless of whether a member of the public is in the vehicle. Additionally, Humboldt County now requires employers who continue to operate, and who require their employees to leave their residence to work or provide services, to supply facial coverings for employees, ensure employees have access to facial coverings, or ensure employees provide their own facial coverings. The Humboldt County Order also does not apply to persons driving alone or with members of their households, unless the windows in the vehicle are lowered to interact with first responders, food service workers, or other persons who are not members of their households.

Each of these Orders is currently in effect. Violation of or failure to comply with these Orders constitutes an imminent threat and immediate menace to the public, constitutes a public nuisance, and is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

  • A copy of the Alameda County Order is available here.
  • A copy of the Contra Costa Order is available here.
  • A copy of the Humboldt County Order is available here.

IMPERIAL COUNTY

On April 9, 2020, Imperial County issued a Health Officer Order requiring all residents and visitors of Imperial County to wear cloth face coverings when leaving their homes or shelters and are likely to come in contact with other members of the public. Under the Order, the use of facial coverings is required for all critical infrastructure workers who are likely to have direct contact with other members of the public, or are unable to maintain a minimum of six feet separation from other coworkers. A copy of the Order is available here.

The Order is currently in effect. Failure to comply with the Order is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or by a jail term up to 90 days, for each violation.

KERN COUNTY

On April 16, 2020, Kern County’s Health Officer issued an Order requiring all emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) facemasks for every EMS response, place a facemask on all EMS patients at initial encounter, and wear N95 respirators or higher-level respirator while caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. The Order further requires all patients to wear face coverings when entering a healthcare facility, and requires all staff with patient contact in healthcare facilities to wear a facemask at all times. A copy of the Order is available here.

All staff in healthcare facilities caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients must wear a respirator, eye protection, gloves, and gowns. A facemask may be substituted for a respirator if a respirator is not available.

All staff in healthcare facilities must wear N95 respirators or higher-level respirator while caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients when likely to engage in aerosol-generating procedures or who are actively coughing or sneezing.

The Order further recommends all healthcare facilities should implement policies requiring everyone entering the facility to wear a cloth face covering while in the building, regardless of symptoms.

This Order is currently in effect. Any person who violates this Order is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to 6 months, or by fine up to $1,000, or both.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

On April 10, 2020, Los Angeles County’s Health Officer issued an Order requiring essential businesses to provide all of their employees whose duties require contact with other employees and/or the public with a cloth face covering to wear while performing duties that involve contact with others. The Order also requires all members of the public to wear cloth face coverings while visiting essential businesses or when leaving the home for essential activities.

Additionally, this Order requires essential businesses to post a Social Distancing Protocol (a copy is available here) for each of their facilities within Los Angeles County explaining that the essential business is providing cloth face coverings to employees and contracted workers whose duties require close contact (within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) with other employees and/or the public, and requiring that members of the public who enter the facility wear a face covering.

Exceptions:

  • This Order does not apply to children under age 2 (including infants), or children with breathing problems. Children between the ages of 2 and 8 should use face coverings but under adult supervision to ensure the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation.

This Order is currently in effect. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

Cities within the County of Los Angeles Requiring Face Coverings When Leaving Home:

  • Beverly Hills
  • Carson
  • Glendale

Cities within the County of Los Angeles Requiring Face Coverings Inside Essential Businesses:

  • Buena Park
  • Burbank
  • Fremont
  • Inglewood
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Pasadena

MARIN, SAN FRANCISCO, SAN MATEO, and SONOMA COUNTIES

On April 17, 2020, the Health Officers for Marin County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, and Sonoma County issued Orders requiring all members of the public to wear face coverings outside of their homes or other places they reside when: (1) they are inside of or in line to enter any essential business; (2) they are inside or at any location or facility engaging in minimum basic operations or seeking or receiving essential government functions; (3) they are engaged in essential infrastructure work; (4) they are obtaining services at healthcare operations, unless directed otherwise by an employee or worker at the healthcare operation; or (5) they are waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or are in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle.

Additionally, drivers or operators of any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private care service or ride-sharing vehicle must wear a face covering while driving or operating such vehicle, regardless of whether a member of the public is in the vehicle.

Exceptions:

  • These Orders do not require that any child aged 12 years or younger wear a face covering and recommend that any child aged two years or younger should not wear one because of the risk of suffocation.

  • These Orders do not apply to people who are in their own cars alone or with members of their own household.

  • These Orders do not require people to wear face coverings while engaged in outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, bicycling or running, though they do recommend that they have a face covering with them and still require social distancing.

  • These Orders do not require a face covering for individuals if a person can show either: (1) a medical professional has advised that wearing a face covering may pose a risk to the person wearing the mask for health-related reasons; or (2) wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

  • These Orders do not require face coverings for any person who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

These Orders took effect on April 22, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and will continue to be in effect until they are extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the respective Health Officer. Failure to comply with these Orders constitutes an imminent threat and immediate menace to public health, constitutes a public nuisance, and is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

  • A copy of the Marin County Order is available here.
  • A copy of the San Francisco County Order is available here.
  • A copy of the San Mateo County Order is available here.
  • A copy of the Sonoma County Order is available here.

MONO COUNTY

On April 13, 2020, Mono County’s Health Officer issued an Order requiring all individuals working in essential sectors to wear a face covering or mask. The Order went into effect on April 13, 2020. A copy of the Order is available here.

ORANGE COUNTY

Effective April 24, 2020, all employees of any grocery store, pharmacy/drug store, convenience store, gas station, restaurant, food preparation establishment, or retail store who have contact with the public must wear a cloth face covering while at work. A copy of the Order is available here.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY

On April 6, 2020, Riverside County’s Health Officer issued an Order requiring all persons, including essential workers, to wear face coverings when in public. A copy of the Order is available here.

This Order went into effect April 6, 2020 and will remain in effect until April 30, 2020, pending further Order of the Public Health Officer.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

On April 7, 2020, San Bernardino’s Health Officer issued an Order requiring all persons, including essential workers, to wear face coverings when leaving their homes or places of residence for essential activities. The Order also discourages all persons, including non-medical essential workers, from using Personal Protective Equipment for non-medical reasons. A copy of the Order is available here.

This Order went into effect on April 8, 2020, and will continue until rescinded. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY

On April 25, 2020, San Diego County’s Health Officer amended its public health order to mandate face coverings for its residents who leave their homes and are within six feet of non-household members. A copy of the Order is available here.

This Order will go into effect on May 1, 2020.

RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED

If Although several counties in California have issued Face Covering Orders, many have not. However, the following counties strongly recommend, but do not require, the use of face coverings in public:

  • Butte County
  • Del Norte County
  • Fresno County
  • Inyo County
  • Kings County
  • Lake County
  • Lassen County
  • Madera County
  • Mariposa County
  • Mendocino County
  • Mono County
  • Napa County
  • Nevada County
  • Orange County
  • Placer County
  • Sacramento County
  • San Joaquin County
  • Santa Barbara County
  • Santa Clara County
  • Santa Cruz County
  • Shasta County
  • Sierra County
  • Siskiyou County
  • Solano County
  • Stanislaus County
  • Sutter County
  • Tehama County
  • Trinity County
  • Tuolmne County
  • Ventura County
  • Yolo County
  • Yuba County

If you have any questions regarding this Alert, please contact the authors Ikedi Onyemaobim, associate in our Los Angeles office at ionyemaobim@fordharrison.com, and Ross Boughton, partner in our San Francisco Bay Area office at rboughton@fordharrison.com. Of course, you may also contact the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.

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