Masks Come Down, Smiles Go Up
In response to requests across the country, and following a number of states who have relaxed or removed their mask requirements, CDC has relaxed its mask recommendations. Today, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidance on when masks should be worn indoors. The guidance categorizes communities into high, medium and low risk based on new COVID-19 hospitalizations, current beds occupied by COVID-19 patients or hospital capacity, and new COVID-19 cases. Masks are no longer recommended by CDC for those in medium and low risk areas (roughly 70% of the country). However, immunocompromised individuals (or others at high risk for COVID-19) should consult with their healthcare provider about whether to wear a mask in medium risk areas. Masks continue to be recommended for everyone (regardless of vaccination status) in high risk areas and continue to be required on public transportation. This new guidance is not expected to change the CDC’s guidance for individuals who have symptoms, have tested positive, or have had recent exposure. And of course, individuals can still choose to wear a mask in medium and low risk areas. CDC will post the new risk areas on its website.
Employers are reminded to check state and local requirements, which may be different.