To Mask or Not To Mask


SDEA Team, March 2020

By Molly Wood, SPHR. SDEA HR Consultant 

On May 13, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommended that fully vaccinated people no longer had to wear masks indoors, except in hospitals, on public transit and in other specified areas. This guidance was presumably to encourage people to get the vaccine, but as with so many guidelines and mandates surrounding COVID-19, it is contradictory to other agency directives.

The County of San Diego requirements state that masks should be worn when:

  • Waiting in line to go inside a store.
  • Shopping in a store.
  • Picking up food at a restaurant.
  • Indoors in a restaurant, except while seated and eating a meal.
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation.
  • Riding in a taxi or other ride service vehicle.
  • Seeking health care.
  • Going into facilities that are open.
  • Working an essential job that interacts with the public.

Masks are not required under the following circumstances:

  • At home.
  • In the car alone or with members of your household.
  • At work if you are in a room alone.
  • For children under 2 years old, because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling or running by yourself or with household members. 
  • When you’re getting a service that involves your face that requires the mask to come off temporarily.
  • For residents with a health condition that prevents wearing a mask.

The County of San Diego only provides fully vaccinated people the option to not wear a mask when they are outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues.

Further, businesses must:

  • Require their employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face covering at the workplace and when performing work off-site.
  • Inform customers about the need to wear a face covering, including posting signs and advising those in line or in the store.

So strictly speaking, if your employees are coming back to the office in San Diego County, they should all be wearing masks if they are in a room with another person, regardless of their vaccination status. Thanks for the monkey-wrench CDC!

We are expecting thing to change on June 15th. Comeback for an update.

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