- Until new guidance is complete, OSHA has directed employers to follow the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding mask use and social distancing for fully vaccinated workers.
- The CDC has recommended that "fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance."
- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is also reviewing the CDC guidelines to consider "any impact of these developments on COVID-19 technical assistance provided to date."
While the OSHA update allowing employers to follow the CDC recommendations relieves some pressure, employers may still be waiting on final guidelines from OSHA to determine their ultimate path forward.
"If OSHA comes out and says, you know, employees have to wear masks, even if they're within 6 feet of each other, even if they're vaccinated, then that's going to really trump whatever the CDC says," Cozen O'Connor Member David Barron told HR Dive last week.
Employers can still voluntarily opt to require social distancing and masks for their workers, according to a May 14 blog post from Morgan Lewis, and can still inquire about vaccination status or request proof of vaccination. Companies can also still design employee access policy to buildings, workspaces and events based on vaccination status.
"Our understanding of the CDC guidance is that workplaces with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons can operate safely while allowing those individuals who have been vaccinated to forgo masks and social distancing," the blog post read.
However, employers should pay attention to state and local regulations, as well, experts note.