After two and a half years of promoting protocols aimed at reducing transmission of coronavirus, on August 11, 2022, the CDC eliminated its recommendation that people quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 and updated other recommendations. In recognition of how vaccination, boosters, and improved treatments have the reduced risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death, the CDC has “streamlined” its guidance regarding what actions people should take to protect themselves and others if they are exposed to COVID-19, become sick, or test positive for the virus. The CDC now recommends that instead of needing to quarantine, someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 only needs to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days. During the 10-day masking period, individuals (regardless of vaccination status) should monitor their symptoms and get tested after five days, regardless of symptoms.
On February 9, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she would let the New York mask mandate lapse on its Thursday, February 10, 2022 expiration date. The Governor’s lifting of the statewide rule, which required businesses to either require proof of vaccination or universal masking indoors, does not yet include an end to mandatory masking in schools, despite a slew of action to that effect in neighboring states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. California is also allowing statewide masking requirements for businesses and many other indoor public spaces to expire on February 15, 2022.
On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an update to its isolation and quarantine guidance. Although the CDC’s update shortens both the isolation and quarantine periods, as described more fully below, the changes largely affect only asymptomatic individuals. Moreover, because local guidance may differ from the CDC’s recommendations, employers should keep in mind all applicable state and local requirements when deciding whether to amend their own rules.
Guidance Updates: The Guidance was amended to reflect that the New York City Human Rights Law provides for accommodations for pregnancy and for victims of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking in addition to medical and religious reasons. The Guidance also clarifies that the examples for medical exemptions for vaccination were those that had been found worthy by the CDC and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Further, the Guidance modifies some language on the religious accommodation checklist around the types of information needed to support religious accommodation requests. As we previously shared, the checklist the City recommends that employers maintain and complete in connection with each religious accommodation request does not alleviate an employer’s need to analyze such requests on a case-by-case basis.
On August 6, 2021, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy signed Executive Order 252 (“Order 252”) requiring health care and high-risk congregate settings to maintain a policy requiring workers to either provide adequate proof of vaccination or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Although Governor Murphy declared an end to the state’s Public Health Emergency in June, he retained the authority to issue orders related to vaccine distribution, administration, and management as well as COVID-19 testing and data collection. Following the CDC’s vaccine guidance, Order 252 ...
As we previously reported, on June 9, 2021, the California Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board (“the Board”) withdrew its prior proposed revisions to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), effectively returning to the original ETS approved in November 2020. A week later, however, on June 17, 2021, the Board approved revisions to the ETS (“Revised ETS”) which, among other things, align with current guidance from the California Department of Public Health ...
In the wake of last week’s updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) easing social distancing and mask requirements for fully vaccinated people, on May 19, 2021, New York State issued its own guidance that, effective immediately, mostly adopts those new recommendations. As of May 19, most New York employers may allow individuals who have been fully vaccinated to stop wearing a mask and social distancing in their workplace.
Importantly, every business also has the discretion to continue requiring consistent rules regarding social distancing and ...
Our colleagues Susan Gross Sholinsky and Jenna Russell of Epstein Becker Green have a new post on the Health Employment and Labor blog that will be of interest to our readers: "Make Sure It’s a Good Fit: The CDC Issues Revised COVID-19 Mask Guidance."
The following is an excerpt:
On February 10, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued updated guidance and a report emphasizing the importance of a wearing a mask that fits tightly over the face to slow the spread of COVID-19. The report, which provides the basis for the CDC’s updated guidance, is ...
The first COVID-19 vaccines have started being shipped across the U.S. with the expectation that millions of doses will be administered over the next few weeks, with many times more over the coming months. This is unequivocally good news and reason for optimism. Meanwhile, however, the pandemic continues to spread nationwide and the numbers are rising rapidly.
The unabated second wave spike of COVID-19 infections arriving with the holiday season and our traditional time for gatherings has led governors, mayors and health departments across the country to tighten restrictions on ...
In advance of the December holiday season, the CDC has issued a revised guidance on recommended quarantine periods.
The revised guidance provides shortened quarantine periods for individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. While the CDC maintains that the 14-day quarantine period provides greater protection for reducing transmission of the coronavirus, the agency has now provided two shorter options, which it says are designed to help alleviate the personal economic hardship associated with the extended quarantine period.
Pursuant to the ...
On June 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC” or “the Commission”) again updated its COVID-19-related technical assistance for employers (“Guidance”). The Commission’s recent updates have focused on return-to-work issues (e.g., see June 11, 2020 Guidance update). This latest update advises employers that, at least for now, requiring employees to undergo antibody testing before re-entering the workplace violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).
In reaching its conclusion, the EEOC relied on recent Interim ...
As numerous jurisdictions now mandate citizens wear face masks in public, many retailers have begun requiring customers to cover their faces as a safety measure to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 among employees and fellow customers. Retailers intending to enforce a policy whereby it will turn away customers who refuse to wear face masks should be mindful of abiding by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which governs retails stores as a place of public accommodation.
May a Business Have a Policy Turning Away Customers Who Refuse to Wear Face Masks?
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