Skip to main content
Menu

Article Details

Article list

Face-mask requirements for health care settings still apply to dental offices

California ends masking requirement Feb. 16 for vaccinated individuals in most public indoor settings

February 14, 2022 23669

Quick Summary:

The new state guidance clarifies that face masks will remain required for all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, in dental offices and other health care settings, in long-term care settings, indoors at K-12 schools, on public transit and in other specified settings. All workers and patients in dental offices must wear face masks. Also, N95s or better respirators should continue to be worn during aerosol-generating procedures.

The universal face-mask mandate will end Feb. 16, as previously scheduled, for most vaccinated Californians in public indoor settings, including restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues, but masks will continue to be required for all individuals in dental and medical offices and other specified settings.

Counties may have their own mask mandates in place. Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties were the last California counties to enforce their own indoor public mask mandate. Both mandates ended the first week of March. Individuals must follow the stricter mandate, whether from the state or their local government. 

Business owners and venue operators across the state can choose to require all their patrons to wear masks in settings where masks are required only for unvaccinated individuals.

California’s new mask guidance acknowledges the significant decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the omicron variant over the last two months, as well as Californians’ knowledge in “how to protect themselves and their loved ones with effective masks when there may be risk of COVID-19 exposure.” 

But the guidance also clarifies that face masks will remain required for all individuals in the following settings, regardless of their vaccination status:

  • Health care settings, including dental offices
  • Public transit, including airplanes, subways, buses and ride-shares
  • Indoors at K-12 schools
  • State and local correctional facilities
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long-term care settings and adult care facilities
  • Emergency shelters

All workers and patients in dental offices must wear face masks. The Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards are consistent with the updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health. Patients will remove their masks to receive care. 

CDA has resources, including an email template and flyers for posting in the dental office, to help members communicate the continued mask requirements to patients. 

N95s or better respirators during aerosol-generating procedures

CDA reminds dentists that when performing or involved with aerosol-generating procedures (open suctioning of airways, sputum induction and others), dental health care personnel must wear NIOSH-approved N95, N95-equivalent or higher-level respirators. 

Details on the use of N95s and other safety measures are available in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interim infection prevention and control recommendations updated Feb. 2, 2022.

Members can also reference CDA’s quick chart on PPE requirements for dental offices and resources to assist with the initial N95 fit test required for each employee who wears an N95.