COVID-19 Restrictions

Santa Cruz County Lifts Mask Mandates in Most Public Places

Effective March 11, 2022 mask mandates in most public places have been lifted. Some conditions still apply:

Masking is still required for EVERYONE (unless exempt) in the following indoor settings:

  • Public transit
  • Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers/li>
  • Healthcare settings
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long term care settings & adult and senior care facilities

While mask mandates have been lifted in most public places, indoor masking is still highly encouraged.

People who are fully vaccinated can be without a face mask elsewhere and in most cases except under conditions noted by Cal/OSHA in a workplace.

Businesses can choose to:

  • Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination.
  • Verify vaccination status to determine if a mask is needed.
  • Require all patrons to wear a mask.

Individuals cannot be prevented from participation or entering a business for wearing a mask.

Face mask exceptions:

  • Very young children or 2 years and younger because they are at risk of suffocation.
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

Workplace Requirements

Cal/OSHA requires employers develop a written COVID-19 prevention program or include COVID-19 prevention measures in their existing Injury and Illness Prevention Plan. Cal/OSHA has a Model COVID-19 Prevention Program and a list of the topics required as part of a COVID-19 prevention plan in their COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Frequently Asked Questions web page.

Sick or Exposed Personnel

Exclusion of sick employees is still one of the best ways to prevent COVID-19 spread. Employees experiencing illness with symptoms like COVID-19 should remain home until they are confirmed to be free of COVID-19 or until 10 days after symptom onset. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

For guidance on handling of ill employees, when to advise testing and how to treat possible or positive COVID-19 cases, please refer to the County of Santa Cruz Health Services COVID-19 Employer page.


Vaccination is an important tool to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Everyone is encouraged to vaccinate. Click here for information about vaccines and vaccine opportunities. Are you a candidate for a booster shot? CDPH is advising that some individuals receive a booster shot under certain conditions.

Still have questions?

Talk to your inspector during routine inspection of your business. We are always happy to address site specific questions.

Santa Cruz CountyCALL CENTER

8am - 5pm
Monday - Friday
(831) 454-4242

Outside of these hours
(United Way of
Santa Cruz County)
or Text: "covid19" to 211211


Email questions with your name, business name and business address to Let us know if you’d like to be added to our permit holder distribution list and get the latest updates!


Call our general number at (831) 454-2022. Our phone line is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. You can also call the Santa Cruz County COVID-19 hotline.