What the New CDC Mask Policy Means for Employers

As reported in the OMA’s COVID-19 Update this week, the CDC has adjusted its masking guidelines as the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread. (In Ohio, the incidence rate has risen to 77.4 new cases per 100,000 residents during the past two weeks — well above the threshold Gov. Mike DeWine once used in determining whether to lift health orders.)

Specifically, the CDC now recommends people in areas with “substantial” and “high” COVID-19 transmission wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. (See this COVID-19 data tracker to find out if you are in such an area.)

In its analysis of the new guidance, OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips writes that employers in areas with substantial and high transmission “may need to implement masks for fully vaccinated workers” to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers.

The firm has also published this insight addressing a recent U.S. Department of Justice memo, which confirms that the “emergency use” status of COVID-19 vaccines does not prohibit employers from requiring workers to be vaccinated. 7/28/2021