September 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 261

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CDC Updates COVID-19 Mask Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued new guidance regarding masks for fully vaccinated individuals given the recent surge of COVID-19 and the Delta variant. The CDC’s updated guidelines can be found here

The CDC now recommends that even fully vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors in public if the individual is in an area/region of “substantial or high transmission.” The CDC provides a map detailing those areas that are considered regions of high, substantial, moderate, and low transmission, which can be found here. As of the issuance of this advisory, all of Florida and most of the Southeast is currently considered an area of “high” transmission, so the new mask guidance applies here. This of course is subject to change as COVID numbers will hopefully go back down soon.

The new guidance does not mention social distancing or other mitigating measures (e.g., Plexiglas) and whether masks should be worn indoors when social distancing and other mitigating measures are in place. 

The CDC’s new guidance could implicate employers’ general duty to provide a safe work environment for employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”) and litigation defenses under Florida’s liability protections for businesses passed as Senate Bill 72, which provides broad liability protections to businesses making “good faith efforts to substantially comply with authoritative or controlling government issued health standards or guidance.” More information concerning Senate Bill 72 may be found here. Therefore, businesses should review their COVID-related safety plans, rules, and signs and notices to employees and the public. Most notably, businesses in areas of high transmission should immediately consider a policy while the transmission rate remains high that employees who work in an area of “substantial or high transmission”, like Florida, should wear masks indoors in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Businesses should continue to closely monitor the CDC and the OSHA websites for any additional changes in policies and guidance on maps relating to transmission.  

© 2007-2021 Hill Ward Henderson, All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 216
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About this Author

Gordan Hill Employment Litigator Hill Ward Henderson
Shareholder

Gordon is a Shareholder in the firm’s Litigation and Employment Law Groups, and is the firm's Assistant General Counsel for Labor and Employment matters. His practice primarily involves employment litigation and counseling, as well as noncompete litigation and general commercial litigation.

In his employment practice, Gordon advises, represents and defends corporate clients in a broad spectrum of employment-related issues. Gordon has successfully defended clients in a wide variety of employment-related litigation, but...

813.222.8506
Robert A. Shimberg Commercial Litigation Attorney Hill Ward Henderson
Shareholder

Robert is a Shareholder in the firm's Litigation Group. His primary practice areas include commercial litigation, corporate compliance, cybersecurity, governmental relations and corporate investigations. He was formerly a prosecutor with the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office.

Robert has provided compliance-related services and training to over 300 businesses around the country. He has defended businesses against consumer claims, class action lawsuits, and provided representation in connection with government agency inquiries and investigations and...

813.227.8469
Jeff Wilcox Litigation Attorney Hill Ward Henderson Law Firm
Shareholder

Jeff is a Shareholder in the firm’s Litigation Group. His practice primarily focuses on employment law, including wage-hour compliance, FMLA and ADA compliance, allegations of discrimination and harassment, non-compete litigation, and handbook and policy drafting. 

Jeff is active in both professional and Bar-related activities.  He currently serves as a Director on the Hillsborough County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division Board, and is a member of the Employment and Labor Law Committee in the Defense Research Institute.  In 2014, Jeff received the Hillsborough County Bar...

813.222.8725
Ryan M. Guerin - Associate HWH Law complex commercial litigation labor and employment
Associate

Ryan is an associate in the firm’s Litigation group. His practice primarily focuses in the area of labor and employment. Ryan also covers an array of general and complex commercial litigation matters.

Ryan represents employers in litigation involving claims of employment harassment, discrimination, retaliation, leave laws, wage and hour laws, whistleblower laws, enforcement of and defense against non-solicitation and non-competition agreements, background check laws, and other employment-related claims. Ryan represents numerous industries, including clients...

813-222-8503
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