Wear your mask in indoor public spaces and workplaces

Due to a recent increase in cases, CDPH has mandated that everyone in California wear a mask in indoor public spaces and workplaces. The order is in effect December 15, 2021 to February 15, 2022.

Here are California’s current mask recommendations and requirements.

On this page:

When to wear a mask

These are the statewide guidelines for masks. Your local area may have more. Check your area’s COVID-19 website.

Everyone is required to wear masks in:
  • Indoor public spaces (until February 15, 2022)
  • Workplaces (until February 15, 2022)
  • Public transit
  • Healthcare settings (including long term care facilities)
  • Adult and senior care facilities
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare, and other youth settings
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers
Masks are required for unvaccinated people and recommended for everyone in:
  • Places of worship
Illustration of a man and a woman wearing masks while riding a train

Upgrade your mask

When cases are on the rise or your risk is higher, increase your protection by upgrading your mask.

Most effective:

  • N95

More effective:

  • KF94
  • KN95
  • Double mask
  • Fitted surgical mask


  • Surgical mask

Least effective:

  • Cloth mask with 3 or more layers

Whatever mask you wear, make sure it fits to your face closely and without gaps.

See CDPH’s Guidance for the Use of Face Masks and Face Coverings Q&A to learn more.

Read Get the Most out of Masking to learn how a mask can best protect you.

Mask-wearing exemptions

The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:

  • Children under two years old, due to the risk of suffocation.
  • People with:
    • A medical condition, 
    • Mental health condition, or 
    • Disability that precludes wearing a mask. This includes:
      • Those for whom a mask could obstruct breathing
      • Who are unconscious or incapacitated 
      • Unable to remove a mask without assistance
  • People for whom seeing the mouth is essential for communication:
    • Hearing impaired, or 
    • Those communicating with a person who is hearing impaired.
  • People for whom wearing a mask would create a risk as they work, as determined by:
    • Local, state, or federal regulators, or 
    • Workplace safety guidelines.

See complete mask exemptions details at CDPH’s Guidance for the Use of Face Masks.

Masking at work

  • Masks are required indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Masks are not required outdoors (except during outbreaks), regardless of vaccination status. Workers should be trained for outdoor use of face coverings.
  • Employers must provide unvaccinated employees with NIOSH-certified respirator masks for voluntary use when:
    • Working indoors, or 
    • In a vehicle with others.
  • Unvaccinated workers must wear masks in state offices.

For more information, see Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), the state public health officer order of July 26, 2021, and CalHR’s Vaccine Verification and Testing Requirements.

Guidance for businesses

Masks are required to be worn indoors by all employees and patrons. This is in effect until February 15, 2022.

This mask requirement applies to all workplaces, regardless of whether or not they serve the public, or are open to the public.

Questions and answers