Let’s face it: Trying to keep up with all the pandemic-related employment rules released by the state only to see them modified again and again, is challenging to say the least.
And yet, the Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers have been modified yet again Tuesday night by the Department of Economic and Community Development, just two business days after they were already updated to ask masks as a requirement.
The modifications don’t just fix a typo, but significantly change what had been put in place over the weekend by reducing the need for employees to wear a mask at all times.
Effective immediately, in workplace settings where employees are working alone in segregated spaces (i.e. cubicles with walls, private offices, etc.), employees may remove their masks.
But, workers need to wear masks or face coverings “from the time they enter the building until the time they arrive at their cubicle/work station and at any time they are leaving their work station and moving around common areas (i.e. in hallways and stairwells, going to the restroom or break room, etc.).”
For employees working on congregate settings (i.e. open manufacturing floors, warehouses, areas open to the public, shared offices, or similar settings), those workers shall wear a face covering as above, as well as when they are at their work station.
The DECD also provided an important clarification for those working outside. “Continuous wearing of masks is not required in outdoor workspaces where employees do not regularly come within six feet of other employees.”
Employers should obviously update their policies and practices to address this new rule.