New California Face Mask Rules and Availability

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, COVID-19, Regulation

face mask

In addition to California Division of Occupational Safety and Health face mask regulations, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued new mandates regarding face mask use in certain settings.

Face masks are required whether or not members of the public are present in workplaces. The CDPH guidance also specifies that individuals engaged in work, on or off the job site, must wear face coverings when:

  • Interacting in-person with any member of the public
  • Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time
  • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others
  • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators and parking facilities
  • In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.

This new CDPH guidance applies to all workplaces, including offices, packinghouses and processing facilities. The guidance applies even if the workplace is not visited by the public. Workplaces that have hallways, elevators, common areas and other work areas that do not allow for social distancing of 6 feet are of special concern.

The CDPH guidance is enforceable by the state and local jurisdictions as a misdemeanor offense and, upon conviction, may be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, by imprisonment of up to six months, or fine and imprisonment. Although some counties have indicated that local law enforcement may not enforce the CDPH guidance, the agency advises that it is prudent that employers take action to ensure that all CDPH and OSHA guidelines for COVID-19 are adhered to in the workplace.

Ag commissioners in various California citrus-producing counties have obtained masks and made them available for growers.

The Tulare County agricultural commissioner purchased a limited number of N95 masks and will distribute them at cost. A box of 20 masks is $125.00. These are intended to assist the agricultural industry to stay safe and compliant with pesticide laws. These are not intended for those companies that are otherwise capable of finding N95 masks on their own.

Currently, the Fresno County agricultural commissioner has two-ply surgical masks available at no cost through a partnership with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In addition, N95 respirators are available for pesticide regulatory compliance. The price, including tax, is $109.60 per box of 20. Purchase is limited to five boxes per customer. They are reserved for Fresno County growers with a pesticide permit or pest control business.

The Ventura County ag commissioner has two-ply surgical masks on hand.

For more information, contact your local ag commissioner.

About the Author

Len Wilcox

Correspondent at Large for Citrus Industry Magazine and AgNet West