The CDC has released new mask guidelines easing former recommendations. The CDC is no longer using vaccination status as the benchmark for mask guidelines and are now using low, medium, and high levels for counties to measure COVID risk and mask recommendations.
For low level counties no masking is required. In medium level counties individuals can consult with their doctors about mask needs and recommends masks indoors for contact with high-risk individuals. Finally, in high level counties masking is recommended for all individuals indoors in public.
The CDC has not defined “indoors in public,” so, for employers, a variety of interpretations could be acceptable. This could mean reception areas and lobbies but could also extend to internal common areas like conference rooms, bathrooms, and hallways.
Ultimately, employers should check local and state mandates as well as updated OSHA mandates before creating masking policies based on the wider guidelines listed above. There are many factors in creating mask mandates for the workplace: number of vaccinated individuals, number of high-risk individuals, the nature of the workplace, among others. Employers can create stricter protocols for masking as well, so long as they are in line with all applicable mandates.