Clarification of Ongoing COVID‑19 Protocols in Correctional Facilities

June 15, 2021

While we carefully reopen and return to normal operations in a way that protects the health and safety of all those who work, live, and visit our institutions, we can get there soon if we all work together and continue to follow public health protocols for our unique work environment. Our ability to fully reopen depends upon following the guidance below and vaccinating as many staff and incarcerated people as possible to help eliminate outbreaks and keep everyone safe.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) continue to strongly encourage staff and the incarcerated population to get vaccinated, and we offer plenty of opportunities to do so. Please contact your respective Employee Health Program staff to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday, June 14, 2021, that most fully vaccinated California workers will be allowed to go maskless indoors after Thursday, June 17, 2021, pending a vote from the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board and issuance of an Executive Order.

Even though the governor has lifted pandemic orders for many, this action comes with the expectation that CDCR continues to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines requiring masks in correctional facilities. As a result, there will be no changes to CDCR’s current directive on protective equipment for staff and incarcerated people.

CDCR and CCHCS will continue to follow current department memorandums/directives on masking, physical distancing, and other COVID-19 response efforts at all institutions, regional offices, and headquarters.

As the pandemic lessens and California makes strides to fully reopen the state on June 15, 2021, CDCR and CCHCS want to ensure that staff understand correctional facilities must continue to use federal masking guidelines.

As outlined in the May 28, 2021, interim guidelines from the CDC: “Fully vaccinated people should also continue to wear a well-fitted mask in correctional facilities and homeless shelters.”

In addition, the CDC issued guidelines on June 9, 2021, for state and local correctional and detention facilities and noted that regardless of vaccination status, masks are required.

Further information on CDCR’s COVID-19 response can be found on our website.

For any additional questions, please direct them to your manager/supervisor.