COVID-19 and Masks – Adapting New Guidance to the Workplace
In May 2021, I wrote about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s issued guidance on fully-vaccinated individuals no longer needing to wear masks (subject to certain exceptions). Most recently, on July 27, 2021, the CDC “reversed course” somewhat on this rule. Keep the following tips in mind when attempting to navigate the CDC’s most recent guidance.
- The CDC’s guidance is region specific. The CDC’s updated stated that masks should be worn for fully-vaccinated individuals living in an “area of substantial or high” transmission. I recommend checking out the CDC’s website which includes a “COVID-19 data tracker” that categorizes cities and counties as “low to high” based on data received. Currently, Fairfax County, is marked as “moderate” and therefore falls outside of the CDC’s guidance. It should be noted that this may change.
- Employers should consider updating or revisiting their COVID-19 policy. As with the May 2021 mask mandate, there are clear exceptions to the CDC’s mask guidance. Certain professions (i.e., those that work around those with compromised immune systems or children, restaurants, etc.) are still required to wear masks under many (i.e., Virginia) local laws. It is important to understand whether your industry’s obligations have changed – or remain the same – given the new guidance.
- Vaccination is still the strongest tool in the COVID-19 war chest. The EEOC has stated that employers can require vaccination. While employers may “opt out” of such a requirement, the uptick in cases likely means that permitting employees the opportunity to get vaccinated (in terms of leave and no discipline) might go a long way.
Feel free to reach out to me to discuss the CDC’s recent guidance or your workplace’s COVID-19 approach.
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Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.
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