Masking Guidance

State Masking Requirement

This guidance is in effect until April 2, 2023. The new guidance (available here) will take effect on April 3, 2023. The updated guidance replaces mandatory masking requirements in high-risk settings with recommendations.
California's recommendation to wear masks indoors for the general population now shifts to suggesting to refer to the CDC Community Levels to help inform masking recommendations, per the CDC's updated recommendations. Within correctional facilities, homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers, masks can be made optional if the community levels are low. CDPH strongly recommends that individuals in these facilities continue to wear a mask.

Masks will no longer be required in indoor high-risk and health care settings. This includes health care, long-term care, and correctional facilities as well as homeless, emergency, and warming and cooling centers. This takes place on Monday, April 3.
    - This timing allows for local health departments and facilities to assess their current situation and develop their own plans, requirements, and time for implementation regarding masking within their respective facilities and communities based on their patient population(s) and local COVID-19 exposure risk.
    - This timing also ensures that we continue these protective measures through the end of the winter season (respiratory virus season).

As of September 29, 2022:

Click here for more information.

Masks continue to be required in specified settings.

  • Universal masking shall remain required in specified settings (in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and Long Term Care Facilities (LTCFs)).
  • Regardless of vaccine status, masks are strongly recommended in indoor settings, on public transit., K-12 and childcare settings. Masks are incredibly effective at preventing COVID-19 infection and masking in indoor spaces and on public transit is the safest choice.

For more information on the updated guidance for the use of face masks, click here.

See the State Health Officer Order, issued on July 26, 2021, for a full list of high-risk congregate and other healthcare settings where surgical masks are required for unvaccinated workers, and recommendations for respirator use for unvaccinated workers in healthcare and long-term care facilities in situations or settings not covered by Cal OSHA ETS or ATD.

Exemptions to mask requirements
The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:

  • Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

CDPH Related Materials:
Get the Most Out of Masking
Face Coverings Fact sheet (PDF)
Face Coverings Questions & Answers
Masks for Kids: Tips and Resources

Reviewed 2/23/23