February 25, 2022 The CDC announced new guidance on when masks should be worn in indoor public places. This guide is important for employers because OSHA recommends that workplaces follow current CDC guidelines. (Note: The new guide does not apply in health framework or on public transport.)
The CDC now classifies all counties as low (green), medium (yellow) or high (orange) for societal risk levels based on local COVID-19 admissions and hospital capacity as well as on new COVID-19 cases. Employers can go to CDCs COVID-19 at County website, enter the states and counties where they have activities and determine the level of risk and the corresponding masking recommendations. Here is a brief explanation from the CDC’s website:
In counties classified as high-risk, the CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status. About 37 percent of the counties are now classified as high-risk; previously, primarily based on measurement of new COVID-19 cases and positive test rates, about 95 percent were subject to the recommendation on indoor masking.
In counties classified as moderate risk, people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for serious illness should talk to their doctor about whether or not to wear a mask. Individuals can still choose to wear a mask in middle- and low-risk counties.
Employers should continue to comply with all more stringent requirements. Employers should also keep in mind that they remain subject the general duty clause of the Working Environment Actwhich requires that a workplace be made free of known, dangerous dangers that can be mitigated.