Face Masks
Upgrade your mask: Good fit and filtration continue to be the best way to get the most out of your mask. The best masks for preventing COVID-19 include the N95, KN95 and KF94. If you don’t have access to one of these masks, wear a surgical mask or a surgical mask with a cloth mask on top. If you choose a fabric mask, opt for one with three of more cloth layers. No matter what kind of mask you wear, check the fit by avoiding gaps above the nose or on the sides.

Due to increased transmission, masks are required indoors at public settings and businesses regardless of vaccination status starting 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 17.  The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health expects to keep this order in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19. Read the Health Officer Order HERE.

When people wear a mask correctly, they protect others as well as themselves. Consistent and correct mask use is especially important indoors and outdoors when in close contact with (less than six feet from) others who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or whose vaccination status is unknown.

Masks will not be required for fully vaccinated people, except in the following settings where masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

  • On public transit (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation)
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings
  • Healthcare settings (including long term care facilities)
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers
  • Indoors at mega-events with more than 5,000 attendees
  • Any business or government office serving the public that requires everyone to wear a mask
  • All indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and businesses (examples:offices, retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, and state and local government offices serving the public, among others.)
Recommendation: In indoor public and private settings where there is close contact with other people who may not be fully vaccinated, individuals should consider wearing a highler level of protection, such as wearing two masks ("double masking") or a wearing a respirator (e.g., KN95 or N95). This is particularly important if an individual is not fully vaccinated and is in an indoor or crowded outdoor setting.

Everyone can remove their masks outdoors, except people who are not fully vaccinated attending large outdoor events – they should stay masked. Additionally, everyone has a right to wear a mask; a person may not be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation/entry into a business.

Individuals, businesses, venue operators or hosts of public indoor settings must:

  • Require all patrons to wear masks for all indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status; and
  • Post clearly visible and easy to read signage, with or without having an employee present, at all entry points for indoor and outdoor settings to communicate the masking requirements for patrons.

Special considerations are made for people with communication difficulties or certain disabilities. Clear masks or cloth masks with a clear plastic panel that fit well are an alternative type of mask for people who interact with: people who are deaf or hard of hearing, children or students learning to read, people learning a new language, and people with disabilities.

All businesses, venue operators or hosts must implement measures to clearly communicate to non-employees the masking requirements on their premises.

  • No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.
  • The categories of persons who are exempt from mask requirements remain unchanged at this time and can be found at In workplaces, certain employees may be exempt from wearing a mask when performing specific tasks which cannot feasibly be performed while wearing a mask. This exception is limited to the period of time in which such tasks are actually being performed. Workers who cannot feasibly wear a mask while performing their work must be tested for COVID-19 at least twice per week, unless the employer is provided proof against COVID-19 or proof of recovery from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days against COVID-19.
  • In workplaces, most employers and businesses are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and some to the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standards, and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements. The ETS allow local health jurisdictions to require more protective mandates. This County Health Officer Order, which requires masking of all individuals at indoor public settings and businesses, regardless of vaccination status, is a such a mandate in Los Angeles County, and overrides the more permissive ETS regarding employee masking.
  • All employers and businesses subject to Cal/OSHA must review and comply with the active Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). As approved and effective, the full text of the COVID-19 Prevention emergency standards will be listed under Title 8, Subchapter 7, sections 3205-3205.4 of the California Code of Regulations. All businesses or employers with independent contractors should also review the State Labor Office webpage entitled, "Independent Contractor Versus Employee."

Choosing and Wearing a Face Mask: 
Face masks work best when everyone wears them consistently and correctly over their mouth and nose. Face masks protect the wearer and those around them. However, not all face masks offer the same protection.

When choosing a face mask, make sure it:

  • Has two or more layers of breathable, tightly woven material;
  • Completely covers your nose and mouth; and
  • Fits snugly against your face, including on the sides, and has no gaps.

A face mask with a nose wire can keep air from leaking out of the top of the mask, which will also help reduce fogging if you wear glasses. To improve the fit of medical procedure masks, the CDC recommends fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask (referred to as “double masking”) and knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face. It is not recommended to double mask with a KN95 or two disposable masks as this does not improve the fit. 

Download COVID-19 Health & Safety poster for Face Mask here.

Do not use masks that:

  • Are made of loosely woven fabrics.
  • Are made of a fabric that is hard to breathe through such as vinyl, leather or plastic.
  • Have valves, vents or holes.
  • Bandanas and scarves are not recommended (unless you wear a mask underneath).

Be sure to clean your hands after touching or removing your mask. As a reminder, a face mask is NOT a substitute for physical distancing. They are an additional tool against COVID-19.

The Evidence for Face Masks:
Recent data indicates that covering your nose and mouth can slow the spread of COVID-19 because:

Videos on Face Masks: