INYO COUNTY HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER ORDER REQUIRING MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AND WORKERS TO WEAR FACE COVERINGS


Date Order Issued: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Health Officer Order is a
crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120295;
California Penal Code §§ 69, 148(a)(1).) This Order supersedes and replaces all previous Inyo County
Public Health Officer orders regarding Face Coverings.
WHEREAS, a state of emergency has been declared by the State of California, and a local
emergency has been declared in Inyo County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, since August 2021, Inyo County has experienced an exponential increase in case
numbers in both the adult and pediatric population, resulting in the highest case rate in the State of
California, 101.4 cases per 100,000 persons (7 day average, 7 day lag), and a test positivity rate of 20.1%
as of October 25, 2021; and
WHEREAS, a State Public Health Officer Order requiring unvaccinated individuals to wear face
coverings in indoor public places, and a recommendation by the Inyo County Public Health Officer for all
individuals in Inyo County to wear face coverings in indoor public places, has not resulted in significant
compliance; and
WHEREAS, approximately 65% of the eligible population in Inyo County is fully vaccinated
against COVID-19, leaving almost one third of the vaccine-eligible population, and all children under the
age of 12, more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus; and
WHEREAS, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in Inyo County are experiencing an increase in
COVID-19 inpatient cases during a time where staffing, capacity, and resources are strained; and
WHEREAS, throughout the pandemic, face coverings have been recommended by the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decrease the transmission of the respiratory illness
caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Face coverings decrease shedding of COVID-19 by people
who are infected. Many people with COVID-19 infection have mild or even no symptoms. Such cases
may unknowingly spread the virus to others and face coverings are intended to decrease the chance of
such transmission.
NOW, THEREFORE, UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE
SECTIONS 101040, 101085, AND 120175, THE COUNTY OF INYO HEALTH OFFICER ORDERS:
1. Effective Friday, October 29, 2021 and continuing until modified or rescinded by further order of
the Health Officer, all individuals in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County of
Inyo (County), regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a face covering when they
enter any indoor public facility. “Indoor facilities” include, but are not limited to, businesses,
government agencies, houses of worship, and office buildings, in addition to other indoor
settings, such as schools and healthcare facilities that are currently under state-issued orders
and guidance.
2. Face Covering Requirements: An effective face covering or mask has both a good fit and good
filtration. A well fitted face covering has no gaps between the face and covering/mask, such as
above the nose or at the sides.
a. Recommendation: wear a medical mask (also called surgical mask or disposable face
mask) when available and appropriately fit.
b. To be in compliance with this order, a “face covering” must possess the following
attributes:
i. Be properly worn and completely cover the nose and mouth.
ii. Cloth masks can work if they are tight fitting and should be made with two or
more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not
let light pass through when held up to a light source).
iii. Mask should be secured to the head with ear loops or straps that go around the
head to reduce gaps from the face.
iv. Mask should fit snugly, but comfortably against the side and bottom of the face.
v. Mask must be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or
punctures.
Further guidance on face coverings can be found here:
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Get-the-Most-out-ofMasking.aspx and here https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx
3. All individuals, businesses, venue operators, or hosts of public indoor settings must require all
patrons to wear a face covering in full compliance with this order for all indoor settings,
regardless of their vaccination status.
a. For purposes of this Order, the term “patron” is broadly defined and includes any
person who enters a business or indoor facility for the purpose of potentially or actually
patronizing or utilizing the goods, services, equipment, or other features of this business
or facility, including but not limited to members of clubs or organizations.
4. Employees, contractors, owners, patrons, visitors, and volunteers of all businesses or indoor
facilities must wear a face covering in full compliance with this order in areas where patrons, the
public, or staff are present or likely to be present, including:
a. Any space visited by patrons or members of the public, including but not limited to,
reception areas, grocery store or pharmacy aisles, service counters, patron/public
restrooms, cashier and checkout areas, waiting rooms, service areas, and other spaces
used to interact with patrons, the public, or staff, regardless of whether a patron or
anyone from the public is present at the time;
b. Any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
c. Common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities; or
d. Any room or enclosed areas where other people (except member of the person’s own
household) are present.
e. Notwithstanding the foregoing, patrons of restaurants and bars are not required to
wear facial coverings while appropriately seated, to the extent permitted by applicable
state-issued orders and guidance for such businesses.
f. Notwithstanding the foregoing, patrons of gyms, health clubs, and swimming pools are
not required to wear a mask while swimming or showering, to the extent permitted by
applicable state-issued orders and guidance for such businesses.
5. All businesses and indoor facilities shall display, at all points of entrance, signage that informs all
employees, contractors, owners, patrons, visitors, and volunteers of the requirement to wear a
face covering in full compliance with this order while patronizing, utilizing the business or indoor
facility, or working.
a. The display of any face covering or mask related signage created by Inyo County is
presumed to meet this requirement. Signs are available for download at
https://www.inyocounty.us/covid-19/inyo-businesses/print-materials
b. Businesses or indoor facilities may display non-County-created signage regarding face
covering requirements as long as that signage clearly and reasonably communicates the
requirement to wear a face covering in full compliance with this order (e.g.; covering
mouth and nose) while patronizing, utilizing the business or indoor facility, or working.
All signage shall be printed on paper no smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches.
6. All businesses and indoor facilities, including governmental entities, business owners, or facility
operators, shall strictly enforce the face covering requirements of this order with respect to
their employees, contractors, patrons, visitors, and volunteers while they are on the business of
facility premises and shall refuse admission and service to any person who fails or refuses to
wear a face covering in full compliance with this order on the premises in full compliance with
this order.
7. The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings or masks:
a. Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a face covering
or mask because of the risk of suffocation.
b. 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 face
covering or mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or
otherwise unable to remove a face covering or mask without assistance.
c. 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.
d. Persons for whom wearing a face covering or mask would create a risk to the person
related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace
safety guidelines.
8. This order is issued in accordance with, and incorporates by reference, the July 28, 2021
Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings issued by the California Department of Public Health; the
March 4, 2020 Proclamation of a State Emergency issued by Governor Gavin Newsom; the
March 16, 2020 declaration by the Inyo County Health Officer of a local health emergency; and
the March 17, 2020 declaration by the Inyo County Board of Supervisors of a local emergency.
9. Where a conflict exists between this Order and any state public health order related to
controlling the spread of COVID-19 during this pandemic, the most restrictive provision controls.
Consistent with California Health and Safety Code section 131080, except where the State
Health Officer may issue an order expressly directed at this Order or a provision of this Order
and based upon a finding that a provision of this Order constitutes a menace to the public health,
any more restrictive measures in this Order may continue to apply and control in the County of
Inyo Public Health jurisdiction.
10. This Order is made in accordance with all applicable State and Federal laws, including but not
limited to: Health and Safety Code sections 101030, et seq.; Health and Safety Code sections
120100, et seq.; and Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations section 2501.
11. Pursuant to Sections 26602 and 41601 of the California Government Code and Section 101029 of
the California Health and Safety Code, the Health Officer requests that the Sheriff and all chiefs
of police in all cities located in the Inyo County Public Health jurisdiction ensure compliance with
and enforcement of this Order. The violation of any provision of this Order constitutes an
imminent threat and menace to public health, constitutes a public nuisance, and is punishable by
fine, imprisonment or both.
12. This Order shall take effect beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 29, 2021 and will remain
in effect until rescinded, in writing, by the Inyo County Health Officer.
a. COVID-19 community transmission within Inyo County will continue to be reviewed and
assessed on an on-going basis in conjunction with availability and access to healthcare
resources and capacity, case rates week-over-week, and vaccine coverage of the eligible
population.
IT IS SO ORDERED:
___________________________________________ Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
James A. Richardson, MD
Inyo County Health Officer

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Many Moons Local
Many Moons Local
1 month ago

As of 11-01-2021 Inyo county has the highest case rate in California, well how about that! As of 2 days ago a elementary school teacher tested positive and one or more of the first graders tested positive! This makes three schools, middle elementary and out of city limits test positive… Read more »

JohnJ
JohnJ
1 month ago

“…all individuals in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County of
Inyo (County), regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a face covering when they enter any indoor public facility. ”

Which side of the vaccine debate are the Inyo county health scientists/experts on?

JohnJ
JohnJ
1 month ago

I assume from reading this order and by the overwhelming majority of comments here that the Inyo health experts are following the science. Good news for those against a vaccine mandate.

JohnJ
JohnJ
1 month ago

So a church service can’t provide “appropriate seating”, but a church potluck can?

JohnJ
JohnJ
1 month ago

What does “appropriately seated” in a bar or restaurant mean and why is it safer than “regardless of whether a patron or member of the public is present”?

Concerned
Concerned
1 month ago

It amazing to me how so many people have suddenly become experts in constitutional law and epidemiology yet barely have a high school education. I realize most of them are just repeating right wing talking points but this rhetoric is dangerous. If you have questions about the vaccine take it… Read more »

Dan
Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Concerned

The same people that couldn’t figure out their 6th grader’s math homework three years ago are suddenly geniuses, personally doing cutting edge research in epidemiology.

SierraWaveReader
SierraWaveReader
1 month ago

At what point are we just protecting folks who don’t want to be vaccinated from COVID? Everyone who wants to be vaccinated has had plenty of time and opportunity now. It seems this virus won’t stop until seemingly everyone has immunity from either (1) vaccination or (2) contracting the virus… Read more »

Kay Kramer
Kay Kramer
1 month ago

You failed to mention option (3): death. The problem now is the same as the problem that we knew would occur as the pandemic grew: when those people who refused to wear a mask to try to slow the spread, and now refuse to get vaccinated DO get sick from… Read more »

SierraWaveReader
SierraWaveReader
1 month ago
Reply to  Kay Kramer

Yea, if non-COVID patients are getting subpar care or can’t get a procedure because the hospital is overwhelmed by COVID patients who decided not to get vaccinated, that’s a problem for sure. I don’t really see a solution for that problem. One could limit the number of COVID patients and… Read more »

Alice
Alice
1 month ago
Reply to  Kay Kramer

Could someone please generate some “choose science over stupidity “ signs? I’ll be the first customer. Going out to my shop to make my own now…

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
1 month ago
Reply to  Alice

The Dutch have a saying . “Act normal, it’s crazy enough”. They are absolutely correct. How normal is it in our life’s experience to be in a world with covid and covid deniers. The majority of us choose to act in a normal way. We stop at stop signs, red… Read more »

M. Anderson
M. Anderson
1 month ago

Wrong. The more people who get the virus, the more it has a chance to mutate. The Delta variant, for example.

Dan
Dan
1 month ago

Give it at least another month, for kids to be vaccinated.

After that, yeah, it’s harder to mourn people who didn’t take basic precautions. And unvaccinated should definitely go to the back of the line at NIH.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

M. Anderson
M. Anderson
1 month ago

Concerned, below, claims that “3 people are in the Inyo hospital…. 3 !” But Inyo County Health and Human Services reports that as of 10/26/21 “Both Adult and pediatric cases are spiking and Northern Inyo Hospital is beyond capacity, with more COVID hospitalizations than it has seen since January, 2021.”… Read more »

Maria
Maria
1 month ago

PSA: COVID HAS REACHED A ALL TIME HIGH TRANSMISSION RATE, APPARENTLY ITS BEING SPREAD VIA THE INTERNET WITH IDIOC RESULTS

mono resident
mono resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Maria

what does “idioc” mean?

Many Moons Local
Many Moons Local
1 month ago

Not surprised at those numbers, expected them to increase. This is why I’m considering changing my name to Many Moons Local Recluse, a constant practice and lifestyle for me now even more so these Covid-19 days. Waiting in the smart n final parking lot and cruising around town I see… Read more »

Sami
Sami
1 month ago

It’s about dang time. Worst in the state, 11th worst county in the *country*, the idiots are killing us.

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
1 month ago

This mandate is great.

Or would be, if masks weren’t a superstition unsupported by any randomized controlled trial of the 14 that have been conducted. But a few hundred years ago the “experts” were urging people to wear garlic necklaces, so it’s comforting to know some things never change.

Kay Kramer
Kay Kramer
1 month ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

You keep regurgitating the same tired argument that there’s no evidence that masking matters, but you never provide any evidence for it.

Jubie
Jubie
1 month ago
Reply to  Kay Kramer

Because there is NO evidence. He’s just parroting what he’s heard by the people who continually want to politicize a pandemic. There is evidence that it DOES help. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html. If we were told a life-threatening hurricane was heading our way and were advised to take shelter and prepare, would you… Read more »

InyoArabians
InyoArabians
1 month ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

Well that statement is just willfully ignorant:
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/4/e2014564118

InyoArabians
InyoArabians
1 month ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

BTW, if you’re interested in a “controlled” trial for masks, round up a group of you anti-maskers and volunteer to be exposed to COVID patients while maskless. That would be the only ethical way to conduct a study like that with a control group.

Dan
Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

A) There are plenty of studies showing masks work. B) If you prefer religion over science, how about Leviticus 13:45, which tells ill people to “cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean! ‘” …. in other words, wear a mask and social distance. Or are… Read more »

Alice
Alice
1 month ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

Are you really equating evidenced base science with medieval superstition?! ? Good thing you’re not in charge then…

mono resident
mono resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

I understand that it is impossible to find a mask to fit over a foot long nose so I do have some sympathy for Pinocchio – whoops – I mean Tourbillion.

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
1 month ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

What’s interesting is that the same Inyo mindset that still complains about L.A. undressing them a century ago with respect to water rights is “yessir yessir three bags full” when anther so-called “authority” slaps masks over the faces of healthy people. Plus ca change, pus c’est la meme chose. The… Read more »

Kay Kramer
Kay Kramer
1 month ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

I’d love to hear your definition of “healthy” – do you really think only “healthy people” can keep your world turning ? when this pandemic started, the anti-maskers were spouting “if you’re immune-compromised, stay home! let the rest of us live our lives! if you’re afraid of the virus, stay… Read more »

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

This one of the trashiest, most disgusting things I’ve ever read on here. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Concerned
Concerned
1 month ago

Absolutely inappropriate comment. You can disagree with this decision, but to personally attack Dr Richardson in this manner is not ok. Sierra Wave this comment goes to far and should be removed

inyo citizen
inyo citizen
1 month ago

probably barking at the moon but there are clear consequences stated in the health order, just wondering how they might be enforced this time — has hollowell changed his stance?

Alice
Alice
1 month ago
Reply to  inyo citizen

Thanks good citizen. Inyo has the distinction of being the county with the highest per capita COVID positivity in California in the past week. If our citizenry would behave responsibly without government intervention we wouldn’t need public health mandates. Or litter laws or child abuse statutes or nuisance ordinances etc.… Read more »

Inyo Citizen
Inyo Citizen
1 month ago
Reply to  inyo citizen

Get your own handle.

Inyo Citizen
Inyo Citizen
1 month ago
Reply to  Inyo Citizen

But this one’s so much fun!

Government is Amazing
Government is Amazing
1 month ago

I can’t think of anything better than government helping guide us to live our lives. We don’t know how to live our lives and we need our hands to be held. Thank you Inyo County…State of CA…and Biden. If we didn’t have you, we wouldn’t know how to navigate this… Read more »

Dean
Dean
1 month ago

Your last line is so disrespectful and indicative of what is wrong with our nation.
God help us. You and your ilk certainly aren’t.

daytripper
daytripper
1 month ago

Don’t be a Brandon, WEAR A MASK.

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
1 month ago

If everyone acted responsibly we wouldn’t need any laws at all. And I guess that would make law enforcement irrelevant too. Let us know if you locate this imaginary world, I’d be interested in checking it out.

Inyo born
Inyo born
1 month ago

Charles, shut your pie-hole! Such a hypocrite, nobody likes your syndicalism comments! Go back to CHINA!!

Kay Kramer
Kay Kramer
1 month ago
Reply to  Inyo born

Yikes! You sound a lot like that old worn-out gasbag INYOFACE ….. but anyway, the hypocrites are the anti-maskers and anti-vaxers who show up at the doctor’s office because they stubbed their toe, can’t figure out how to take their blood pressure medication, or can’t get an erection; they’re easy… Read more »

quacque
quacque
1 month ago
Reply to  Inyo born

Dear Inyo Born: Congratulations on having the wisdom to be born where you now live. Great foresight on your part. But “China” and “Chinese” are not synonyms for “evil,” as you seem to assume. On the other hand, the US of A, and California in particular, has a 150-year history… Read more »

Jubie
Jubie
1 month ago
Reply to  Inyo born

Leave your sophomoric, imbecilic statements out of this discussion. Take a deep breath. We can discuss without these types of statements. Inyo born or not.

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Inyo born

Wow! That’s a lot to unpack in just 17 words. Hope you’re feeling better now. Haha.

mono resident
mono resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Inyo born

Wow! syndicalism – such a big word. Can you tell us what it means in this context?

David Dennison
David Dennison
1 month ago

Government is Amazing
Thing is….if trump were to say to wear a mask,you’d be first in line wearing one…
Puppy-Dog follower stuff.
It’s not political…
Don’t “blame ” President Biden or the State of California for wanting to keep people safe and help get through this…

BobK
BobK
1 month ago
Reply to  David Dennison

Whoah! David; Don’t you remember saying that you never have and never would vote Republican? If that’s not being a puppy dog follower, i don’t know what is!

David Dennison
David Dennison
1 month ago
Reply to  BobK

BobK Not a Puppy-Dog follower for me… If I were to ever vote republican,all I’d have to do is watch a few minutes of fox news,or tapes of the January 6th trump riot to change my mind. But if John Kasich ran for POTUS,I’d give that a thought or too.… Read more »

Kay Kramer
Kay Kramer
1 month ago

You must be so exhausted dodging the rules of life. You should probably just stay home, and put your feet up for a while.

InyoArabians
InyoArabians
1 month ago

With the worst case rate in the state – by a long shot – it appears you are correct. There is a good portion of Inyo residents that don’t know how to live their lives and are putting our children and medically vulnerable at needless risk.

Concerned
Concerned
1 month ago
Reply to  InyoArabians

3 people are in the Inyo hospital…. 3 !

InyoArabians
InyoArabians
1 month ago
Reply to  Concerned

You’re incorrect, the number fluctuates but they’ve had well over that for weeks now.
https://data.rgj.com/covid-19-hospital-capacity/facility/northern-inyo-hospital/051324/

Daniel
Daniel
1 month ago

Oh my golly-gee-williker! What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks kind of person is this that gets a schoolboy thrill of profanity without the conviction to own it. The only thing more juvenile than thinking anyone cares about you saying “F… Joe Biden” is your super cutesy code to say it. This is America.… Read more »

Quilting Grandma
Quilting Grandma
1 month ago

I am so thankful the this is finally happening. Small businesses have needed this to happen to stay safe. Our healthcare workers are exhausted, our essential workers are exhausted, our teachers are exhausted.
We will only get over this if we work together.

BobK
BobK
1 month ago

Thank you for removing the post from “Bishop Local. ” That type of comment doesn’t belong on any forum, especially when he/she
Doesn’t sign off with their real name and address.