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This page is currently under revision.
For the latest guidance please see the Health Officer Order (9-23-22) "Responding Together at Work and in the Community and the LA County Mask Wearing Rules and Recommendations webpage.

Updates 8-9-22: Added a recommendation that during an outbreak at the workplace that employers communicate about the actions they are taking to keep employees safe. See new resource Worker Protections during COVID-19 Outbreaks


Los Angeles County is utilizing both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels and California SMARTER Plan to guide the realignment of our local public health response to focus on reducing medically significant illness and minimizing strain on the healthcare system. See Los Angeles County Post-Surge Response Plan. The core community prevention strategies are indoor masking, testing, vaccine verification, and ventilation.

Per published reports, factors that increase the risk of infection include:

  • Enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation or air handling that allow for build-up of exhaled respiratory fluids, especially very fine droplets and aerosol particles in the air.
  • Increased exhalation of respiratory fluids that can occur when an infectious person is engaged in physical exertion or raises their voice (e.g., exercising, shouting, singing).
  • Prolonged exposure to these conditions.

Below is a summary of requirements and best practices for businesses, employers, and organizations to enhance safety for their workers, customers, and communities.

Prevent and reduce transmission among employees*
Wear a mask
  • Encourage and make it easier for employees to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19: COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are the best way to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace and in the community. Encourage workers to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are free and widely available in every community. Make it easier for your workers to get fully vaccinated and boosted by providing paid time off to get vaccinated and to recover from any post-vaccination side-effects. Consider offering rewards such as additional paid time off or cash bonus payments, and/or implementing policies that require employees to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. For more information about legal issues related to implementing vaccine requirements in your workplace, visit these sites from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
  • Follow face mask rules for employees*: The County Health Officer Order strongly recommends, but no longer requires, workers to wear a face mask while working indoors and in shared vehicles. Businesses may choose to continue to require indoor masking. Per County, State and Federal law, masks must continue to be worn in indoor settings with higher risks for transmission. Those settings include public transit and transportation hubs in LA County, all healthcare settings, long term care and adult and senior care facilities, correctional facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling/heating centers (see Mask Wearing Rules). In addition, employees returning to work after infection or close contact exposure must wear a highly protective mask around others for a total of 10 days after the positive test or the most recent exposure.
    • In settings where masking is not required, employers must make available and offer well-fitting medical masks and respirators (e.g., N95, KN95, KF94) for voluntary use to employees who work indoors and have close contact with others or in vehicles with more than one person. In addition, per Cal-OSHA, employers must provide a face covering to any employee who requests one, regardless of their vaccination status.
    • Employers that choose to maintain a universal indoor masking requirement at their worksite must provide well-fitting medical masks to their employees.
    • Per Cal-OSHA, upon request, employers must provide all employees who work indoors or in vehicles with more than one person with the correct-size N95 respirator for voluntary use along with basic instructions on how to use the N95 respirator. Employees may request respirators for voluntary use regardless of their vaccination status.
    • When not required to wear a mask, employees may choose to wear one or not. The cost of masks must be borne entirely by the employer, not by the employee. Employers cannot discourage or retaliate against employees for wearing a face mask. See Wear a Mask and Know Your Rights.
    • Masks that fit and filter well help prevent workers who do not know they have the COVID-19 virus from spreading it to others, and they also provide better protection to the wearer. Provide education and resources to employees about masks. For more information about masks, see LAC DPH mask webpage at publichealth.lacounty.gov/masks.
    • Respirators must be replaced if they lose their tight fit or get damaged, deformed, dirty, wet, or difficult to breathe through. If supplies are limited, review the manufacturer guidance on reuse and how many times a particular respirator can be reused by the same person. If no manufacturer guidance is available, CDC recommends limiting the number of uses to no more than five times.
    • For more information about free and low-cost PPE for employers, visit: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ docs/FreeAndLowCostPPE.pdf.
  • * Some independent contractors are considered to be employees under the State Labor Code. For more details, check the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Independent Contractor Versus Employee webpage.

Home sick
  • Actively encourage and support employees to stay home when sick.
    • Make sure employees know that they must not come to work if sick. Inform workers about the availability of Paid Sick Leave and how to access this benefit.
    • Inform all employees on how they can obtain COVID-19 testing. This could be through the employer, or a health plan, or at a community testing site. Continue to educate employees about the symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if they are sick, including getting tested for COVID-19.
    • Develop and implement a process for screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms. Options include having employees evaluate their own symptoms before coming to work, using signage at the entrance of the workplace, or completing daily on-site screening. Temperature-taking is not required but is allowed. See Entry Screening.
    • Employees who have COVID-19 symptoms, test positive, or are exposed are required to follow return to work guidance.
  • Exclude infected and exposed employees from the workplace unless they have satisfied all return-to-work requirements.
    • Make sure infected and exposed employees follow return to work guidance.
    • If the employer permits employees to return to work early, to wear a highly protective masks (respirator preferred) for the 10 full days.
  • Manage COVID-19 exposures in the workplace when it is known that an employee with COVID-19 was at work during their infectious period.
    • Identify, inform, and appropriately manage exposed close contacts as soon as possible.
    • Have a plan to offer testing to all employees who are symptomatic and to those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at work. Testing must be provided free-of-charge and made available during work hours. Please note that federal law requires health plans to continue to provide payment for medically necessary testing without cost sharing.
    • Comply with reporting requirements if your workplace has a cluster of 3 or more cases of COVID-19 among workers within the span of 14 days. Contact the Department of Public Health at www.redcap.link/covidreport or by calling 888-397-3993 or 213-240-7821.
    • During a workplace cluster or outbreak, actively communicate with employees. Inform employees about actions you are taking to keep them safe. Review and share “Worker Protections during COVID-19 Outbreaks
    • Refer to Cal-OSHA COVID-19 ETS and DPH Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace for more information.

Prevent and reduce transmission from and among customers/visitors
  • Require visitors and workers to wear masks in specified high-risk settings per County, State, and Federal requirements. This helps all in those settings continue protecting our most vulnerable populations and the workforce that delivers critical services in these settings. Those settings include: public transit and transportation hubs in LA County, all healthcare settings (including long term care and adult and senior care facilities), correctional facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, and emergency shelters (see Mask Wearing Rules).
  • Require or strongly recommend masking for all persons indoors. Masks are strongly recommended, but no longer required, in most indoor public settings. Businesses may choose to continue to require indoor masking. The purpose of this indoor masking recommendation is to prevent transmission of COVID-19 particularly to persons with prolonged, cumulative exposures (e.g., workers) and those with higher risk of illness.
  • Consider implementing a vaccination/testing requirement for customers entering your business. Businesses in LA County can choose to require customers to provide proof of COVID-19 or a negative test prior to entering their business. See the DPH step-by-step instructions for checking vaccination status or a negative test result.
  • Use clearly visible signage at the entrance to your business and in electronic communications (e.g., website, social media, email confirmations) to inform customers of your business’s COVID-19 safety policies, including the masking policy and that visitors must not enter the premises if sick or symptomatic.
Maintain a healthy work environment
Venting Air
  • Increase ventilation to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. SARS-CoV-2 viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors. Effective ventilation is one of the most important ways to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus through the air.
    • Make sure your building’s HVAC system is in good, working order. Contact your HVAC professional. Ask them about:
      • Whether installing MERV 13 air filters is feasible;
      • How to set the HVAC system to 100% outside, non-recycled air, especially during special events or areas with more crowding; and
      • The number of Air Changes per Hour (ACH) in areas of your business. Having 2-6 ACH is recommended.
    • Other ways to improve ventilation:
      • Consider installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners in rooms with less ventilation or more crowding.
      • When weather and working conditions allow, and if it is safe to do so, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Use caution in highly polluted areas when increasing outdoor air ventilation.
      • Consider using fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows.
    • Decrease occupancy in indoor areas where ventilation cannot be increased. Consider use of carbon dioxide monitors to monitor the effectiveness of your ventilation in more densely occupied indoor spaces.
    • Refer to Cal-OSHA COVID-19 ETS FAQs-Ventilation for additional instructions. See State Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
Home sick
  • Support hand hygiene. Provide handwashing facilities for employees and ensure that they have adequate time to wash their hands during work time. Encourage employees to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds each time. See the CDC guidance, When and How to Wash Your Hands. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Do not provide hand sanitizers with methyl alcohol (methanol) or 1-prophyl alcohol (1-propanol). See the FDA hand sanitizer guidance for more information. Posters in multiple languages that remind people to wash or sanitize their hands and show how to wash their hands are available in the signage section.
  • Cleaning and disinfection. Worksites should consult CDC cleaning guidance to help determine how frequently their facility needs to be cleaned and/or disinfected. Cleaning once a day is usually enough. Employers should identify and regularly clean frequently touched surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, tools, handrails, phones, headsets, bathroom surfaces and steering wheels. CDC recommends that any materials, areas, equipment or objects used indoors by a COVID-19 case during the infectious period be disinfected if they will be used by another employee within 24 hours of the COVID-19 case.
Maintain a healthy workforce
Remote Work
  • Reinforce paid leave policies. Review your workplace leave policies and modify them if necessary to ensure that employees are not penalized when they stay home due to illness. Make sure that your employees are aware that they may be eligible for benefits such as paid sick leave or workers’ compensation if they, or a family member whom they care for, attends a vaccine or booster appointment, is sick with COVID-19, needs to quarantine due to exposure, or needs to recover from vaccine-related symptoms.
Home sick
  • Protect employees who are at higher risk of severe illness. Consider assigning duties or implementing safety modifications that minimize the employee’s contact with customers and other employees.
  • Whenever possible, take steps to reduce crowding indoors and encourage physical distancing. A few example strategies include, but are not limited to:
    • Limit indoor occupancy to increase the physical space between employees at the worksite, between employees and customers, and between customers.
    • Using tape, signs, or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed six feet apart, to guide customers about where to stand to avoid crowding and to encourage distancing where lines may form.
    • Continue, where feasible, to offer telework options for employees. Offer teleworking options during times of high community transmission (100 or more new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days). In addition, at other times, consider offering teleworking arrangements that do not interfere with business operations to reduce crowding indoors.
    • Implement flexible work hours, such as staggered or rotating shifts that do not interfere with business operations, to reduce crowding among employees onsite at any given time.
    • Alter the physical workspace to increase distance between employee workstations and customers. Consider placing barriers for work situations where employees have the potential to come in contact with people known, or suspected, to have COVID-19, or where there is high turnover and infection status of personnel is unknown. Consider height and posture of affected employees, directional airflow, fire safety and the need for enhanced ventilation when designing and installing barriers. Note: barriers are not a replacement for ventilation, physical distancing, masking or other protective measures.
    • Stagger break times so fewer workers are using lunch or breakrooms at the same time.
    • Encourage, where feasible, eating and taking breaks outdoors. Eating and drinking with others indoors can significantly increase the risk of spread. If employees must eat/drink indoors, ensure that the dining area is well-ventilated and encourage distancing by at least six feet (about 2 arm’s length) while eating/drinking.
  • Provide information – including the DPH COVID-19 Safety Workers Rights in California pamphlet (see Resources for other languages).
COVID-19 entry sign - Masks Required by State Regulations
Entry Sign: Masks Required by State Regulations
English PDF | Word Doc
COVID-19 entry sign - Masks Required by Federal Regulations
Entry Sign: Masks Required by Federal Regulations
English PDF | Word Doc
COVID-19 entry sign - Masks Required by Management
Entry Sign: Masks Required by Management
English PDF | Word Doc
COVID-19 entry sign - Masks Strongly Recommended
Entry Sign: Masks Strongly Recommended
English PDF | Word Doc
Upgrade your mask
Protect Yourself from COVID-19 in the Workplace: Know Your Mask Rights (For Employees)
(updated 9/30/22) English | Spanish
Flyer - Free and low-cost PPE for businesses
Flyer - Free and low-cost PPE for businesses
Summary - LA County Ongoing COVID-19 Rules for Businesses
Summary - LA County Ongoing COVID-19 Safety Measures - Rules for businesses
DPH COVID-19 Safety Workers Rights in California - Pamphlet
DPH COVID-19 Safety Workers Rights in California - Pamphlet
Guidance for Hosting Holiday Events
Guidance for Hosting Holiday Events
Webpage (Seasonal)
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Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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