Los Angeles County employers will soon face a new requirement to provide employees who work indoors around others with high-quality masks, according to a new announcement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The department announced that in light of the growing surge in cases caused by the omicron variant, covered workers must be provided with and use “well-fitting medical-grade masks, surgical masks, or higher-level respirators, such as N95 or KN95 masks” at all times while indoors at the worksite or facility.
According to the agency’s statement, these masks are better at preventing virus particles from making it through the mask. As a result, though the deadline for compliance is January 17th, the agency wants employers to begin complying and providing masks to employees as soon as possible. In addition, the department announced that all employees of both public and private schools within the county will also be required to wear high-quality masks.
In addition to mask-wearing, the county’s health department also addressed other safety matters that will affect businesses within the county. This includes restricting eating and drinking at certain venues such as movie theaters to specifically designated dining areas.
According to the Los Angeles County Public Health Director, though vaccinations remain effective against current variants, vaccinations alone will not be enough to prevent the spread of the virus, and so residents will need to practice “layering on protections whenever around non-household members.” This new mandate reflects that and will require mask-wearing indoors, with few exceptions. This also follows the extension of the statewide mask-wearing requirement to February 15th, 2022 adding one month to the requirement that went into effect in December 2021.
Operators of mega-events have similarly been affected by these new requirements by following suit with the state’s own order reducing the threshold of mega-events. Now outdoor mega-events will be lowered to a threshold of 5,000 attendees, and indoor mega-events will be limited to 500 attendees.
This means that operators of these events, as well as the operators of the venues, will be responsible for maintaining proper signage and compliance with relevant requirements. Lastly, eating and drinking will be forbidden from card room gaming tables, and masks will be required except in specified drinking spaces.
These new requirements will require employers within Los Angeles County to implement new requirements for masking as well as to source new high-quality masks. It is important to work quickly to ensure compliance before the fast-approaching deadline.
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