- Fully Vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of Substantial or High Transmission. The CDC has an interactive map where employers can confirm whether their county is considered to have a substantial or high transmission.
- EMPLOYER TIP: The CDC updates the map daily at 8pm EST. It is advisable for Public facing businesses to consult the map daily and confirm whether they are located in a county of Substantial or High Transmission. In the event a locale turns to an “orange” or “red” county, then businesses will adapt their mask policy to match the CDC.
- Some Fully-Vaccinated People Might Choose to Wear a Mask Regardless of the Transmission Rate. The CDC explained that individuals who are Fully-Vaccinated might choose to wear a mask in the following scenarios: (1) if they are immunocompromised or at an increased risk for severe disease, (2) if they have someone in their household who is (a) immunocompromised, (b) at increased risk of severe disease, or (c) not fully vaccinated.
- EMPLOYER TIP: If a Full-Vaccinated employee expresses concern relating to working in-person due to being immunocompromised, or fear of transmission to an unvaccinated household, businesses should consult with counsel. While this Guidance indicates fully-vaccinated employees can still come to work while wearing a mask, there are ADA issues that must be considered.
- Exposure Requirements. This Guidance changes the game for exposure of Fully-Vaccinated individuals. According to the CDC, Fully-Vaccinated individuals who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should:
- Get tested 3-5 days after the exposure; and
- wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days, or until they receive a negative test result.
Businesses that are adhering to the CDC Guidance should amend their COVID policies to match this update.
…DO BUSINESSES HAVE TO FOLLOW THIS GUIDANCE? …YES
Even if your business is located in a state that has “lifted all restrictions,” it is advisable to follow the CDC Guidance. As mentioned in a previous blog, employers have a duty to provide a working environment free from recognized hazards. In its COVID Guidance, OSHA references and cites to CDC Guidance repeatedly. It follows that in order to abide by the General Duty Clause, businesses must abide by the CDC Guidance.
Susie M. Cirilli is a Labor & Employment attorney that assists clients with issues involving the ADA, FMLA, and Title VII claims. Susie litigates on matters related to hostile work environment, discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, race and disability. Susie has experience representing employers in fact-finding conferences and mediations before the PHRC and the EEOC. Susie’s practice also consists of counseling and advising clients on employment matters. She often advises employers on day to day employment matters and assists her clients on employee issues such as hiring and terminations, which includes drafting and negotiating separation agreements. Susie has experience drafting and revising employment agreements, employee handbooks, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Susie is admitted in the Middle District and Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is also admitted in the Federal Court for the District of New Jersey.
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