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With the Omicron cases rapidly declining across the state and hospitalizations having been stabilized, California will lift its universal mask mandate for indoor public places next week.  The mask mandate was reinstated on December 15, 2021, as a tool to decrease the spread of the Omicron variant as it increased across the United States and spread much more rapidly than the original COVID-19 and Delta variant.  The lifting of the mandate on February 15, 2022, will apply to counties without local mask orders of their own, but counties can still opt to retain local mask orders, as Los Angeles County seems that it will do.

While some may be happy to finally rid themselves of face coverings, do not put those masks away quite yet.  Masking requirements for all individuals will still be required in high-risk settings, such as public transit, healthcare settings, state and local correctional facilities, long term care settings for adult and senior care facilities and indoors in K-12 schools.  Additionally, masks are required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses.  Venue operators of indoor “Mega Events” with more than 1,000 people will still have strong vaccination requirements for their patrons, guests, and attendees, but some may allow vaccinated individuals to “self-attest” confirming that they are in compliance prior to entry.  Outdoor events will no longer have a vaccination requirement.

Health officials continue emphasizing the importance of vaccinating and booster shots as protection from serious illness.  The state is lifting the requirements that visitors to hospitals and nursing homes test negative for the coronavirus.  There will still be exemptions to mask requirements for unvaccinated individuals with medical conditions, such as mental health conditions, or a disability that prevents wearing a mask, or persons that wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work.  Although the mandate will be lifted, workplace employers will still be subject to the CAL/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Standards (ETS).

Here at Epps & Coulson, LLP, we are here to advise you of the regulations and requirements and help prepare you in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please contact Dawn at:

Information contained in this Memo is intended for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.  It is considered advertising under laws of some states.  Epps & Coulson, LLP encourages you to call to discuss these matters as they apply to you or your business.

Attorneys admitted to practice in California, New York, Colorado, Texas, and Oregon