Masks are no longer required indoors in California, with a few exceptions. But they are still strongly recommended.

On this page:

When to wear a mask

These are the statewide guidelines for masks. Your local area may require masks where the state doesn’t. Check your area’s COVID-19 website.

Masks are required in:
  • Healthcare settings
  • Emergency shelters
  • Jails and prisons
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long-term care
Masks are strongly recommended in:
  • Public transit, stations, terminals, and airports
  • Indoor public settings
  • K-12 schools
  • Childcare

Learn more in Guidance for the Use of Face Masks.

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.

Learn more:

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 help
  • 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

Read more about mask exemptions at Guidance for the Use of Face Masks.

Masking at work

Cal/OSHA has issued the following mask requirements.

  • Masks are strongly recommended indoors
    • In outbreaks, wear masks indoors and outdoors when you can’t maintain six feet of distance
  • Masks are not required outdoors (except during outbreaks)
    • Workers should train 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

For more information, see: