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Updates

1/11/22: Updated to reflect changes to the County Health Officer Order which, effective January 17, 2022, require employers to provide medical grade masks to employees who work in indoor settings and in close contact with others.

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Introduction

Given the ongoing increase in community transmission of COVID-19 and the presence of new and emerging variants, a layered approach to prevention that includes masking indoors, full vaccination with a booster dose if eligible, and good ventilation, is essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Per published reports, factors that increase the risk of infection, including transmission to people more than 6 feet away, 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 space.
  • 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 that operate out of offices to enhance safety for their workers, customers, and communities, and lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission within their office-based businesses. In addition to this information, please remember:

  • Employers must follow the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and the County Health Officer Order. Please note that the directives in the LA County Health Officer Order must be followed when they are more stringent than the Cal/OSHA temporary standards.

Please be sure to read and follow the general guidance for businesses & employers.
The specific best practices below are intended to supplement the general guidance.

Follow mask rules for employees and visitors
Wear a mask N95 respirator
  • Visitors: Require all visitors, regardless of vaccination status to bring and wear masks when they are indoors. Make masks available for those who arrive without them.
  • Employees*: Require all employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks when working indoors and in shared vehicles. Masks need not be worn indoors if the employee is alone in a room or actively eating or drinking at a seated or stationary location. If employees must eat indoors, they should be distanced at least 6 feet from other persons.
    • Employees who work in an indoor setting where they are in close contact with other people must be provided and required to wear a medical grade mask, surgical mask, or higher-level respirator such as an N95 or KN95 at all times while at the worksite or facility.
    • Upon request, employers are required to provide employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with the correct-size N95 respirator along with basic instructions on how to use the N95 respirator. Respirators must be replaced if they get damaged, deformed, dirty, or difficult to breathe through. For more information about free and low-cost PPE for businesses and organizations see: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/docs/FreeAndLowCostPPE.pdf.
  • Consider also offering staff eye protection (e.g., a face shield) in addition to a respirator if they are not fully vaccinated and have significant close contact with others who may be unvaccinated.
  • See the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order and the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards page for more information about mask requirements. Please note that the directives in the LA County Health Officer Order must be followed when they are more stringent than the Cal/OSHA ETS.

* Some independent contractors are considered as employees under the State Labor Code. For more details, check the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Independent contractor versus employee webpage.

Screen customers, vendors, and delivery people
Screening
  • Post signage to remind everyone who enters your establishment that they should NOT enter if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are under isolation or quarantine orders.
Reduce crowding, especially indoors
Remote work
  • Continue, where feasible, to offer telework options for employees. Given increased community transmission of COVID-19, wherever possible, continue those teleworking arrangements that do not interfere with business operations, particularly for those employees with medical risks. Telework significantly reduces the risk of exposure for employees.
  • If possible, maintain an outdoor break area for employees so they can take their breaks and eat or drink outdoors. Encourage employees to eat outdoors, alone in a closed office space, alone in a car, or distanced by at least 6 feet from others if eating in a shared indoor area.
  • Remind employees who must eat indoors that when they are actively eating or drinking, they need to be seated at a table, counter, or other stationary location.
  • Control access to self-service areas, such as beverage service stations, by keeping them closed or limiting access to them as self-service areas encourage employees to congregate and require use of common utensils and dispensers.
  • Consider use of partitions between cubicles to protect staff who are not fully vaccinated and have frequent close contact with other employees or visitors.
Ventilate
Improve ventilation
  • Make sure your building’s HVAC system is in good, working order.
  • Increase ventilation as much as possible. Consider installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, upgrading the building’s air filters to the highest efficiency possible, and making other modifications to increase the quantity of outside air and ventilation in all working areas.
  • When weather and working conditions allow, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Consider using fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows - position window fans to blow air outward, not inward.
  • Decrease occupancy in areas where outdoor ventilation cannot be increased.
  • See State Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
Support handwashing
Wash hands
Communicate
Communicate
  • Post signage so that visitors who are entering your office building are aware of your policies, including the requirement for all visitors and employees to wear a face mask while indoors.
  • Use your online platforms to communicate your COVID-19 safety policies to the public.

 


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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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