CDC and OSHA Mask Mandate Changes: Top Takeaways for HR

HR Compliance
Safety & OSHA

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Following the CDC and OSHA guidance on mask wearing over the past several weeks is much like watching a tennis match. The CDC originally served guidance stating that vaccinated individuals no longer needed to wear a mask outdoors or when gathering with other vaccinated individuals. To the disappointment of many employers, OSHA did not return with a long-awaited update to the current Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for masking. On May 13, the CDC served up another statement saying vaccinated individuals are able to resume pre-pandemic activity, unless masks are required by a local ordinance or by individual businesses. OSHA returned a response a couple days later, stating businesses should follow CDC guidelines.

On July 27, 2021, the CDC lobbed its Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, This newest guidance is specific to when fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks and seems contrary to guidance we have received in the past.

All of this volleying has left employers in the spectator seats wondering what to do next. Many have updated policies, while others wait to see if any additional guidance will be given. Here are five takeaways related to the newest guidance.