COVID-19 and the Workforce: March 4, 2022

TOP HEADLINES 

CDC Adopts New Masking Guidelines. What Does That Mean for Employers? 
HR Dive – March 1, 2022 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that it had adopted new metrics regarding guidelines for mask wearing across the U.S., greatly reducing the number of people who may need to mask up. 

Jobless Claims Total 215,000, Fewer Than Expected; Productivity Rises 6.6% 
CNBC – March 3, 2022  
Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 215,000, the lowest tally since the beginning of the year and fewer than Wall Street estimates, the Labor Department said Thursday. 

How to Manage Changing COVID-19 Workplace Safety Obligations 
SHRM – March 1, 2022 
Employers may be tempted to lift their pandemic-related safety requirements as federal and state authorities ease masking and other COVID-19 rules. But employers should note that they have ongoing obligations to protect the health and safety of their workers. 

What’s New from the CDC 
Keep up with all the latest information on COVID-19 directly from the resources created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

GLOBAL NEWS 

AUSTRALIA 
Coronavirus Case Updates from Around Australia 
ABC News – March 2, 2022 
Here’s a quick wrap of what’s happening with COVID-19 figures across Australia. 

CANADA 
As COVID-19 Mandates Lessen, Employers Face Challenges on Work Policies 
Canadian Lawyer – February 11, 2022 
The next stage of the COVID-19 pandemic facing Canadian employers—including the removal or lessening of at least some mandates and protocols—will perhaps be one of the most challenging yet, says Jamie Jurczak, a partner at Taylor McCaffrey LLP. 

INDIA 
India May See Fourth COVID Wave from June, Peak in August: Study 
NDTV – February 28, 2022  
Officials at the World Health Organization recently warned that Omicron may not be the last COVID variant, and the next strain could be more contagious. 

UNITED KINGDOM 
UK PM Boris Johnson Lifts All Remaining COVID Restrictions in England 
CNBC – February 21, 2022 
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday lauded the lifting of all remaining COVID restrictions in England as a “moment of pride” as he set out the government’s long-term plan for living with the virus, prompting concern among public health specialists and opposition lawmakers. 

UNITED STATES 
Yelp Reports Post-COVID Comeback in U.S. Business Openings, but Not in Major Cities 
Yahoo Finance – February 28, 2022 
After COVID-19 initially battered mom-and-pop businesses in 2020, openings of new businesses rebounded in the second year of the pandemic to near pre-virus levels—just not in big cities like New York and Los Angeles. 

POLAND 
Poland Lifts Most COVID-19 Restrictions March 1; Masks Stay 
Medical Xpress – February 23, 2022 
Poland is lifting most COVID-19 restrictions including limits on the people inside restaurants and theaters from March 1 but will continue with mandatory face masks indoors and isolation rules, the government said Wednesday.