With the Delta variant driving increased cases of COVID-19 across the country, the CDC has revised its guidance on masks, recommending that everyone, including vaccinated people, should wear masks indoors in areas of substantial transmission. The CDC has a website where people can track the transmission status of their county.
At the same time, some areas across the U.S. are reinstating mask mandates, and employers should pay close attention to local requirements.
Los Angeles County, California, St. Louis, Missouri and Jackson, Mississippi have reinstated mask mandates for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Many other jurisdictions require or recommend masks for unvaccinated individuals. Masks are also required for all people who are in federal buildings or on federal lands. This includes federal contractors working on site.
Additionally, officials in other locations, including Oregon and Washington state are once again recommending but not yet mandating state-wide mask usage. Employers should watch their local guidelines closely as they may change as coronavirus cases continue to increase.
OSHA recommends that employers provide all workers with face coverings at no cost to workers. Employers must discuss reasonable accommodations for any workers who are unable to wear or have difficulty wearing certain types of face coverings due to a disability.
Some special types of employers such as healthcare and congregate care employers will have different and more stringent masking requirements and guidelines.