On September 5, 2021 the County of Santa Barbara Health Officer issued a new Health Officer Order for the control of COVID-19 Face Coverings within Santa Barbara County:

1. This Order 2021-10.4 is effective 5:00 p.m. (PT) September 5, 2021 and continuing until 5:00 p.m. (PT), on October 5, 2021 or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the County of Santa Barbara Health Officer (“Health Officer”). This Order applies in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County (“County”). 


2. This Order orders that in the County Face Coverings must be worn over the mouth and nose – regardless of vaccination status – in all Indoor Public Settings and Businesses, as defined below, including but not limited to: offices, retail stores, restaurants and bars, theaters, family entertainment centers, conference and event centers, and State and local government offices serving the public.


3. Individuals, Businesses, venue operators, hosts, and others responsible for the operation of Indoor Public Settings or Businesses must:

         a. Require all individuals to wear Face Coverings regardless of vaccination status; and

         b. Post clearly visible and easy-to-read signage at all entry points to communicate the Face Covering requirements.


4. Exemptions. Individuals are not required to wear Face Coverings in the following circumstances:

       a. While working alone in a closed office or room;

       b. While actively eating and/or drinking;

       c. While swimming or showering;

      d. While obtaining a medical or cosmetic service involving the head or face for which temporary removal of the Face Covering is necessary to perform the service;

     e. Performers at indoor live events such as theater, opera, symphony, religious choirs, and professional sports may remove Face Coverings while actively performing or practicing, though such individuals should maximize physical distancing as much as practicable;

       f. Individuals in indoor religious gatherings may remove Face Coverings when necessary to participate in religious rituals;

      g. Individuals actively engaged in water-based sports (e.g., swimming, swim lessons, diving, water polo) and other sports where masks create imminent risk to health (e.g., wrestling, judo). All other indoor recreational sports, gyms, and yoga studios shall comply with this Order;

      h. Persons younger than two years old must not wear a Face Covering because of the risk of suffocation;

      i. Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a Face Covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a Face Covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a Face Covering without assistance;

     j. Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

     k. Persons for whom wearing a Face Covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.


5. Persons exempted from wearing a Face Covering due to a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.


6. Workplaces subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and/or the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standards should consult the applicable regulations for additional requirements. The ETS allows local health jurisdictions to mandate more protective measures. (8 CCR § 3205(a)(2).) This Order, which requires Face Coverings for all individuals in Indoor Public Settings and Businesses, regardless of vaccination status, takes precedence over the more permissive ETS regarding employee face coverings.


7. “Business” or “Businesses” for the purpose of this Health Officer Order is defined to mean any institution, establishment, public or private agency, for-profit, non-profit, or educational entity, whether an organization, corporate entity, partnership, or sole proprietorship.


8. “Face Covering” means a covering made of a variety of materials such as cloth, fabric, cotton, silk, linen, or other permeable materials, that fully covers the tip of a person’s nose and mouth, without holes, including cloth face masks, surgical masks, towels, scarves, and/or bandanas. This Order does not require the public to wear medical-grade masks, including masks rated N95, KN95, and their equivalent or better. A face covering with a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that provides a preferential path of escape for exhaled breath shall not be used as a face covering under this Order because the valve permits respiratory droplets to easily escape which places others at risk.


9. “Indoor Public Setting” or “Indoor Public Settings” for the purpose of this Health Officer Order is defined to mean an enclosed area whether privately or publicly owned, to which the public have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, whether by payment of money or not, but not a place when used exclusively by one or more individuals for a private gathering or other personal purpose.


10.Except as otherwise set forth herein, the June 28, 2021 Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings issued by the CDPH may be amended from time to time, continues to apply throughout the County of Santa Barbara.


11.The Health Officer strongly encourages that individuals, Businesses, venue operators, hosts, and others responsible for the operation of Indoor Public Settings or Businesses provide Face Coverings at no cost to individuals required to wear them.


12.If you cannot afford a face covering one will be provided to you free-of-charge at the following locations:

      a. Santa Barbara County Administration building lobby, 105 E Anapamu St, Santa Barbara

      b. Santa Barbara Health Care Center, 345 Camino del Remedio, Santa Barbara

      c. Santa Maria Health Care Center, 2115 Centerpointe Parkway, Santa Maria

      d. The Health Officer requests cities within the County of Santa Barbara provide face coverings free-of-charge to those cannot afford them.  


You can find the complete Health Officer Order HERE.


Specific guidance on appropriate masking in schools settings HERE.


Santa Barbara County Masking Guidance HERE


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) strongly encourages the following general public health recommendations:

  • Everyone should get vaccinated when eligible.
  • Indoor spaces should be well ventilated (i.e., open all windows and doors to increase natural air flow), following current CDPH and CalOSHA guidance.
  • Everyone should sign up for CA Notify as an added layer of protection for themselves and the community to receive alerts when they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

For questions on COVID-19 protections in the workplace or to speak with a Cal/OSHA representative during normal business hours, please call 833-579-0927.


Indoors ( > 5000 attendees)

Outdoors ( > 10,000 attendees)

Vaccine Verification / Negative Testing 

Required for mega-events

Recommended for mega-events

Capacity Limitations

No restrictions

Physical Distancing

No restrictions for attendees, customers and guests


Follow current CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings


Follow CDC recommendations and CDPH Travel Advisory