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New COVID rules and guidance

Due to increasing COVID-19 cases and new evidence about how virus variants spread among people who are fully vaccinated, the County of San Diego has put out new guidance on the use of masks indoors, which follows new CDC guidance released yesterday.

Your health, safety and peace of mind continue to be our top priorities, which is why throughout the pandemic we have not just followed county guidance, but in some cases exceeded it. With that in mind, we are making some changes to our COVID-19 protocols, effective immediately:

  1. Regardless of vaccination status, all city employees must wear a mask indoors and when riding in a vehicle with someone else. Masks must be worn when working in cubicles and other open work areas. If you are in an office or a vehicle alone, masks are optional.

  2. All meetings and interviews must be held virtually to avoid increased risk of spread. This includes board and commission meetings. City Council is currently on recess, so no changes are needed at this time.

  3. We will follow the county’s guidance for members of the public entering city buildings: Masks are required for those not fully vaccinated and recommended for those who are.

Our telecommuting policy will remain in place. Outdoor guidance also remains the same: masks are not required outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, but they are recommended when in crowds or in the presence of people who are not vaccinated.

Here is a link to the updated public health guidance from the CDC, and the county’s website on mask guidance.

An important clarification about “masks”

Throughout the pandemic, the terms “mask” and “face covering” have sometimes been used to mean different things, and now have come to be used interchangeably. Please review the County of San Diego guidance for what counts as a mask/face covering.

Under current Cal/OSHA rules, a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar, or single layer of fabric do not count as a mask/face covering.

Also, previous exceptions still apply, such as when eating and drinking, when job duties make wearing a mask infeasible or create a hazard, and when an accommodation is required.

All other precautions remain in place

The addition of indoor masking does not reduce the need to follow all other health guidance:

  • Stay home if you are sick. Even if you think it’s not COVID-19, and even if you feel well enough to work. I cannot stress this enough.

  • Avoid crowded places.

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds with soap).

As public servants, we are held to a high standard. We must follow the best data available and the advice of public health experts. When it comes to your health and the health of our community, we must err on the side of caution.

I know this feels like a setback, but it is not going to be forever. We will re-evaluate every two weeks and as new data becomes available. In the meantime, thank you for everything you are doing to keep yourself, each other and our community safe.


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