The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks except in certain situations. However, this announcement does not necessarily mean all fully vaccinated workers can go maskless in the workplace. The CDC “is not the ultimate authority”— that spot belongs to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”).
Until OSHA updates its guidance, that agency’s current standards still apply, i.e. that workers wear masks in the workplace unless it would be dangerous to the health of the employee and/or other employees. Guidance from OSHA could be imminent, however. Emergency temporary standards were put together weeks ago and were reportedly delivered to the White House. According to an update on OSHA’s website, “until those updates are complete, please refer to the CDC guidance for information on measures appropriate to protect fully vaccinated workers.”
This remains an uncertain and confusing time for businesses as they try to maintain a safe and comfortable workplace for their employees. Please contact John Prorok or Lawrence Maiello of MBM’s Business Law Team for further guidance regarding workplace safety.