June 25, 2022

Volume XII, Number 176

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June 24, 2022

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Employers Can Reconsider Mask Policies After CDC Relaxes Most Mask Recommendations

On Feb. 25, 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its masking recommendations. Under the new guidance, the CDC only recommends individuals mask while indoors in public if their community is categorized as high risk. The CDC is no longer recommending masks for individuals in low- or medium-risk communities. However, the CDC recommends that individuals who are at high risk for severe illness speak with their health care provider about whether to wear a mask in medium-risk communities.

The CDC’s guidance categorizes communities into high, medium, or low risk based on the rates of new COVID-19 hospitalizations, current beds occupied by COVID-19 patients or hospital capacity, and new COVID-19 cases. The CDC is publishing information and ratings for all U.S. counties on its website.

OSHA is expected to adopt or partially adopt the CDC’s recommendations, but it has not yet commented on the CDC change. As such, many employers may reconsider removing or relaxing their masking policies. But before removing mask mandates, employers should conduct an individualized assessment of the threat in their workplace. Employers in high-risk industries, such as health care and meat-packing, should consult legal counsel prior to lifting mask mandates. Finally, employers should review their local and state masking requirements and continue to comply with those requirements.

Employers are permitted to maintain stricter masking policies, and should accommodate employees who want to continue to mask, especially those who are at increased risk for serious illness.

© 2022 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 60
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About this Author

Faith Whittaker, Dinsmore Law Firm, Cincinnati, Labor and Employment Law Attorney
Partner

A partner in the Employment, Labor and Benefits Department, Faith has experience guiding clients through issues that arise in the workplace. She handles employment-related litigation for her clients, who range from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Understanding each client has different tolerances and objectives in dealing with employment matters, Faith is passionate about learning her client’s industry and gaining insight into their operations. While always prepared to vigorously proceed through litigation, she teams with her clients...

513-977-8491
Hayey Geiler, Dinsmore Law Firm, Cincinnati, Labor and Employment Attorney
Associate

Hayley is a member of the Labor and Employment Department where she works with clients of all sizes across multiple industries. Her practice focuses on the Fair Labor Standards Act, Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts, the Ohio Civil Rights Act and non-compete agreements.

Prior to joining Dinsmore, she served as a judicial extern for Magistrate Judge Roderick C. Young in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia where she gained valuable...

513-832-5366
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