So, a year into this pandemic, it’s worth taking stock (again) of where employers are in Connecticut and some of the issues that have been popping up of late that are far different from the issues we faced a year ago.
Yes, the pandemic is still with us and likely to still be with us in some form or another for a long while.
But, the case statistics in the state (and, indeed, across the United States) show a sustained and significant drop. Yesterday had one of the lowest positivity rates since mid-October with just 534 new COVID-19 cases. It’s unclear of all the causes but it’s suspected that the vaccines are having some impact. Whether this will continue or whether variants will halt this decline are unknowns at this point.
In Connecticut, the Governor has previewed one significant change to the Sector Rules that have been in place for event venues: We’re likely to see an increase in the cap as of March 19th to up to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. This will significantly help those who are in the wedding business.
For businesses, all the remaining rules are still in place. That means those who can work from home still should work from home. Travel restrictions are still in place. At least for now.
There should be increasing questions as to whether the rules should be modified as the infection rate drops and vaccines become more prevalent. And these questions should be addressed too.
- Can employers require vaccinated workers to come into the workplace even though they “can” work from home?
- Should the same Sector Rules still be in place when a majority of workers have been vaccinated?
- How do the new CDC guidelines impact offices and other workplaces where vaccinations have already occurred?
- (And, as an aside, can the Rules be updated to reflect the fact that the FFCRA is no longer effective?)
In our most recent webinar, we talked a lot about the options available to employers to consider regarding vaccines. The program is still available on-demand.
The pandemic is far from being over. I suspect masks will be required for workplaces for some time. But it also does not seem to early to start planning for this next phase of the pandemic as well.