Five Things to Consider When Writing Your Mask Policy

If you live in a state where the governor hasn’t lifted your state’s mask policy, you can sit back and relax. It may frustrate or anger your employees, but you can sit back and say, “masks are required at work! End of story!”

For the rest of you, what was once a pain to enforce has now become a mystery. You need a policy regarding masks–even if your state doesn’t require them and you don’t require employees to wear masks. Your policy can’t simply be “no masks required!” Here’s what you need to think through.

The CDC advises while the state and OSHA make rules.

The Center for Disease Control said that fully vaccinated people (two weeks past the final immunization) do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors. Your employees may latch onto this, but even the CDC reminds you that they don’t make the rules. They advise:

To keep reading, click here: Five Things to Consider When Writing Your Mask Policy

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8 thoughts on “Five Things to Consider When Writing Your Mask Policy

  1. I think we’ll see people choosing to wear them now and then during cold and flu season. In some Asian countries, they already do this as a courtesy when they’re feeling under the weather or in crowded public spaces.
    I’ve always wondered why we didn’t do this—it’s not fun to get sick because Bob in Accounting is hacking all over the office. And if we normalize mask-wearing when we have a cold, then Bob can go to work and get the month-end done without making anyone sick. Along with frequent hand-washing and our new habit of not touching our faces as often, it’s a good habit to help keep everyone healthy.

    1. Bob needs to stay at home when potentially contagious, where he can hack all over the place without the risk of infecting his coworkers.

      1. Some companies discourage use of sick leave. I have to come to work when I’m sick but still mobile and be miserable, unproductive, and expose my coworkers. I really like the idea that I could save them by masking and handwashing. (Of course, I’d really like the idea that sick leave means you get to stay home when you’re sick – what a concept! – but that’s just not the culture.)

        1. Pre-pandemic, I think far too many companies discouraged the use of leave of any type, including sick leave. Likewise, a lot of employees — myself included — “worked sick.” COVID-19 changed many things, including people’s attitudes about the value of “working sick.” Personally, I’m now much more likely to stay home from work if sick and possibly contagious. And, hopefully, employers will be more likely to insist that employees stay home when potentially infected with a communicable disease. I know my employer is.

  2. I expect Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order banning public sector entities from requiring masks will be tested by litigation. Of primary concern are schools, since no students under age 16 are yet fully-vaccinated. The order appears arbitrary and capricious, since it flies in the face of the guidance from public health officials, and will — likely — also conflict with the upcoming OSHA regulations. Abbott’s prior misstep, a year ago — in prematurely reopening the State — created a massive spike in cases and many, unnecessary, illnesses and deaths, as well as extreme stresses on our healthcare systems and providers.

  3. Since this article addressed this issue, I am glad that it was pointed out to not be negative towards those who will continue to wear masks, let’s not discuss the why, because that’s a major issue facing employees who are reluctant to return to work. Knowing employers, especially in certain jobs, getting the customers to return in force, are going to revert back to doing the least amount of requirements to meet OSHA and CCD standards mainly to avoid that cost. This explains why there is a push to get people vaccinated for the return to work because they will have an excuse to both limit hours of employees and to lower labor costs by using the wording of “how” they accommodated the workplace for the employees “safety”. While I am sure that most employers will follow the “letter of the recommendations “, they should also not discriminate against any employees who wish to continue to wear a mask, especially if the prevailing negative attitude towards using paid or unpaid time off if not feeling well. Of course, there’s going to be abuse of time off requests by the usual employees who are merely present at work for the paycheck as long as it doesn’t interfere with their personal activities. (Yes, I heard that rumor of numerous people planning vacations this year to make up for those not taken because of travel restrictions-despite the fact they could have taken staycations anytime in 2020).
    What I am surprised at is the total lack of concern about the issue of sanitation safety precautions which was/is the reason why so many people were infected because of the lack of correct sanitation in normal conditions. Expecting your employees to come to work sick without a means of not infecting others because the low staffing issues should not be an acceptable situation after 2020. This should be a focus requirement.

    1. There’s a relative lack of concern about sanitation as a safety precaution because there’s been little to no transmission from contaminated surfaces. It was a focus of concern early on but as we learned more about the disease it became clear that surface contamination wasn’t a major factor:

      https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30678-2/fulltext

      https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00251-4

      I do hope that people don’t start stigmatizing mask-wearing, too, but sadly I don’t have much faith “it’s my health and my decision crowd” to show the respect they wanted for their own decisions to others.

    2. LOL. Why would I want to take a staycation? If you’re WFH, that’s like saying you’re going to take a vacation in your office.

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