Resources and Information for CA Optometrists

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: May I require an employee or patient to wear a mask?

A: Yes, employers can have policies that are more protective than those required by the COVID-19 Prevention regulations. However, an accommodation must be made for those who cannot wear face coverings due to a medical or mental health condition or disability, who are hearing-impaired or communicating with a hearing-impaired person, or when an employee performs specific tasks which cannot be performed with a face covering. 

Q: Do I need to provide masks for staff?

A: Yes, employers are required to provide face coverings upon request to all employees, and should make surgical masks or higher-filtration masks (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s) with good fit available at all times.

Q: Do I need to take my patients' temperature before their visit?

A: No, you are not required to actively assess asymptomatic patients for COVID-19 by taking temperatures. However, you may choose to implement passive patient screening for COVID-19 signs and symptoms, and exposures. Passive screening involves patient education, asking the patient to screen themselves prior to entry. This may be done by posting signs at entrances, or by sending emails or letters to patients providing guidance about recommended actions you would like patients to take for:

An example would include asking patients with a confirmed COVID-19 infection or symptoms consistent with COVID-19, to defer non-urgent visits. See CDC COVID-19 Facility Access Tool for an example of screening criteria.

Q: May an employer require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

A: Yes. As explained by the California Civil Rights Department, an employer may require employees to receive an FDA approved vaccination against COVID-19 infection so long as the employer: does not discriminate against or harass employees or job applicants on the basis of a protected characteristic; provides reasonable accommodations related to disability or sincerely-held religious beliefs or practices; and does not retaliate against anyone for engaging in protected activity (such as requesting a reasonable accommodation). For guidance on this topic, employers may wish to refer to information provided in the following FAQ resources provided by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Civil Rights Department at the following webpages:

Civil Rights Department FAQs regarding COVID-19

Q: May an employer require employees to submit proof of vaccination?

A: Yes. As explained by the California Civil Rights Department, because the reasons that any given employee or applicant is not vaccinated may or may not be related to disability or religious creed, simply asking employees or applicants for proof of vaccination is not a disability-related inquiry, religious creed-related inquiry, or a medical examination. Employers may wish to instruct their employees or applicants to omit any medical information from such documentation. Any record of employee or applicant vaccination must be maintained as a confidential medical record

Q: What are the indoor ventilation requirements?

A: Employers must: 1) review CDPH and Cal/OSHA guidance regarding ventilation, including “Interim Guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments;” and 2) develop, implement, and maintain effective methods to prevent transmission of COVID-19 including one or more of the following:

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