Resuming Adopt-A-Highway Operations

Department Of Transportation
Division Of Maintenance
1120 N Street
P.O. Box 942873, MS-31
Sacramento, California 94273-0001
Phone (916) 531-3079
Fax (916) 653-5776
TTY 711

June 24, 2021

Dear Adopt-A-Highway Group Leader:

Caltrans would like to thank you for your patience and complying with the strict Covid-19 guidelines. On June 17th, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-09-21 complying with the California Occupational Safety and Health Board (Cal-OSHA) updated Covid-19 guidelines. 

All previous 2020 memos stating Covid-19 guidelines regarding litter removal have been rescinded. Moving forward, please refer to the Cal/OSHA website, for guidelines that must be followed during litter removal operations. You will be responsible for compliance with the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards and for compliance with any local health department orders that are more restrictive than the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards. Additionally, you will be responsible for managing face covering requirements. If a partner/consultant is riding in Caltrans provided transportation, it will be your responsibility to inform your driver if the vehicle occupants can go without a face covering. Lastly, the organization should provide the face coverings and N95 masks to those that wish to have one while completing their assignments. Some of the new guidelines are:

  1. No face covering requirements outdoors (except during outbreaks), regardless of vaccination status.
  2. Fully vaccinated individuals may ride in vehicles without physical distancing or face coverings (except during outbreaks).
  3. Face coverings are required for unvaccinated individuals when riding in a vehicle with others.
  4. To the best extent possible, same working crews should be transported together. Mixing crews should be kept to a minimum.
  5. No physical distancing or barrier requirements regardless of vaccination status (with an exception of an outbreak).
  6. Vehicle windows shall be kept open and ventilation system is set to maximize outdoor air and not recirculate air. Windows do not have to be kept open if it is excessively hot and the A/C is functioning or excessively cold and heater is functioning. 

Litter removal is a vital function in keeping the state’s highway system safe. It is also vital in keeping the state’s water supply clean. Our partners participation is a big part in achieving this goal. I would like to thank all our Partners for your past and continued participation in the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway Program.

Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns you may have at


Craig Carter
Statewide Adopt-A-Highway 
Program Manager

“Provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability”

Guidance for Litter Removal
During COVID-19 Pandemic for Caltrans Partners


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has prepared the following guidelines to safely resume litter removal activities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. These guidelines should be followed by all Caltrans litter removal partners, which includes, Adopt-A-Highway (AAH)contractors and volunteers and Special People Program (SPP) contractors.
Partners can choose to follow their own guidelines, guidelines from Cal/OSHA or the County Health officials where they are operating, whichever is the most restrictive, provided that those guidelines pertain to preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Failure to adhere to the guidelines may result in the litter operations to be temporarily discontinued or restricted.


A. Risk Assessment/Work site specific plan for litter removal. Contractors and partners shall:

  1. Designate individual who will implement this plan
  2. Obtain and train staff on COVID-19 protocols from the local health department where litter removal will take place. It is the responsibility of the contractor to comply.
  3. Document the training and those who participated.
    1. Documentation shall be saved for 90 days by Area Superintendents, District AAH coordinators and Program Managers for SPP.
  4. Regularly inspect worksites for compliance and investigate any COVID-19 reported illness to determine if work related factors contributed to the risk of infection. Document and correct deficiencies identified.
  5. Identify close contacts (individuals within six feet for 10 minutes or more) of a reported infected employee.
  6. Encourage workers who are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home.
  7. Provide all the required protective equipment.
  8. Encourage use of face coverings when physical distancing cannot be achieved. Face coverings must not be shared.
  9. Ensure non-partners are not allowed to enter the work site

B. Training. Employee training shall include:

  1. How to identify underlying health conditions that may make individuals more susceptible to contracting the virus.
  2. How to self-screen at home, including temperature and/or symptoms checks using CDC guidelines.
  3. Call in procedures when not reporting to work if any symptoms of COVID-19 are recognized from self-screening or if they or someone they live with has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  4. How to seek medical attention if their symptoms become severe, including persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face. Updates and further details are available on CDC’s webpage.
  5. The importance of frequent handwashing with soap and water, including scrubbing with soap for 20 seconds (or using hand sanitizer with at least 60%ethanol or 70% isopropanol when employees cannot get to a sink or handwashing station, per CDC guidelines.
  6. The importance of physical distancing, both at work and off work time (see Physical Distancing section below).
  7. The proper use of face covering, including:
  8. Face coverings are not personal protective equipment (PPE)
    1. Face coverings can help protect people, but do not replace the need for physical distancing and frequent handwashing.
    2. Employees should wash or sanitize hands before and after using and/or adjusting face coverings.
    3. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
    4. Face coverings should be washed after each shift.

C. Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols. Contractors and partners shall:

  1. Perform thorough cleaning on high traffic areas such as staging areas (if applicable), transportation vehicles and equipment after each shift.
  2. Clean touchable surfaces between shifts or between users, whichever is more frequent, including but not limited to working surfaces, tools, handles and latches, and control on stationary and mobile equipment, including surfaces in the cabs of all vehicles.
  3. Require workers to wash hands or use sanitizer between the use of shared equipment, tools, radios, phones and other items.
  4. Require PPE equipment such as hard hats and any face shields, be sanitized at the end of each shift. Clean and disinfect the inside of the equipment, then the outside, then wash hands.
  5. Avoid sharing phones, office supplies, other work tools, or handheld mobile communication equipment wherever possible. Individually assigned peripheral equipment (keyboards, handsets, headsets, chairs, etc.) should be provided wherever possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after each use. Never share PPE.
  6. Ensure that sanitary facilities always stay operational and stocked and provide additional soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer when needed.
  7. Provide additional sanitary facilities (including portable toilets and handwashing stations) if feasible and necessary to maintain physical distancing during scheduled breaks.
  8. Install hands-free devices, if possible, including motion sensor sinks, soap dispensers, sanitizer dispenser, and paper towel dispensers.
  9. Choose cleaning chemicals and products approved for use against COVID-19 listed on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved list and follow product instructions. Use disinfection labeled to be effective against emerging viral pathogens, diluted household bleach solutions (5 tablespoons per gallon of water), or alcohol solutions with at least 75% alcohol that are appropriate for the surface. Provide employees training on the manufacturer’s directions and Cal/OSHA requirements for safe use. Workers using cleaners or disinfectants should wear gloves as required by the product instructions.

D. Physical Distancing Guidelines. There are currently no physical distancing or barrier requirements regardless of vaccination status (except during an outbreak).

  1. Work site meetings and smaller safety meetings are recommended with physical distancing to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Transition other meetings and interviews to phone or digital platforms or hold outside or in a space allowing for at least six feet of physical distance between employees is recommended.
  2. To the best extent possible, same working crews should be transported together. Mixing crews should be kept to a minimum. Vehicle windows shall be kept open and ventilation system is set to maximize outdoor air and not recirculate air. Windows do not have to be kept open if it is excessively hot and the A/C if functioning or excessively cold and heater is functioning.
  3. Park in a wide and safe area when using multiple vehicles to transport workers, in order to maintain social distancing. Use of safety pull outs is recommended.
  4. Face coverings should meet the CDC guidelines.
  5. Require crew members to wear rubber or nitrile gloves when picking up litter.
  6. Utilize work practices, when feasible and necessary, to limit the number of workers on the jobsite at one time. For example, when onsite terrain and features requires workers to work closely together. This may include scheduling (e.g. staggering shift start/end times) or rotating crew access to a designated area during a shift. Stage the jobsite to stagger work and limit overlap of work crews.
  7. Encourage crew members to bringing a lunch made at home or purchase takeout or delivery where available as long as they can avoid congested areas.
  8. Avoid unsheltered camps and people experiencing homelessness.