by Michelle R. Ferber and Alexandra P. Saddik

On April 17, 2020, the city of Berkeley and counties of Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo issued new orders requiring members of the public to wear a face covering that does not have holes, is made of a soft permeable material, and covers the nose and mouth. Face coverings MUST be worn when an individual is:

  1. Inside or entering any businesses;
  2. Receiving essential Government Functions;
  3. Engaging in Essential Infrastructure Work;
  4. Obtaining healthcare services; or
  5. Waiting for public transportation.

Additionally, all employees engaged in Minimum Basic Operations, Essential Government Functions, or Essential Businesses must wear facial coverings when interacting with any member of the public, working within the presence of members of the public, working where food is prepared or packaged, or “in any room or enclosed area when other people are present.”

Accordingly, Essential Businesses that remain open and have employees working in an office setting must comply with these orders. Employees can choose not to wear a face covering when the employee is alone “in a space not regularly visited by the public,” such as a personal office. Businesses are not required at this time to provide face coverings for their employees. Best practices dictate, however, that face coverings be supplied by the employer if at all possible.

Essential Businesses are required to post signs or take other reasonable measures to remind the public to wear a face covering. Additionally, businesses must not serve members of the public who fail to comply with the order and must take reasonable measures to prevent noncompliant members of the public from entering the businesses.

Face coverings are not required for children under twelve and should not be worn by children who are two years old or less.  Individuals engaged in outdoor physical activity are not required to wear a face covering; however, a face covering is recommended and should be readily accessible should social distancing not be practicable. Some exceptions apply based on individual health conditions.

The full text of the orders can be accessed at the following links:

Contra Costa County: https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/

Alameda County: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx

San Francisco County: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus-healthorders.asp

Marin County: https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/marin-public-health-order-face-coverings-41720

San Mateo County: https://www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders

Berkeley: https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus/

Ferber Law continues to check for updates surrounding COVID-19 and remains available to assist with your needs. Stay well.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.