On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Lamont issued new Executive Order 12 updating the mask guidance that the state has been operating under since way back in Executive Order 7NNN on August 14, 2020 (and Executive Order 7BB on April 17, 2020 before that).  The new guidance skews closer to the CDC guidance that we talked about last week.

In addition, the state has discontinued all of the sector rules that were first required and then recommended to employers.  So things like contact tracing, or one-way paths, are not required any more.

Here are the key items from the Executive Order:

  • While indoors in any “public place” and when not socially distant from every other person, all unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a mask.
  • In addition, all individuals (fully vaccinated and not) must wear a mask in any taxi or car service, any commercial aircraft, any means of public transit, or within an airport, bus or train station, or homeless shelter or correctional facility.
  • The same exceptions for medical conditions that applied before remain in place.
  • Masks will not be required while eating or drinking (presumably in these public places noted above).
  • Any business, nonprofit organization, property owner, healthcare facility or office, or state, regional, or municipal government or agency may require, subject to the exceptions in subsection 1(a) of this order, the universal use of masks or face coverings or require staff to wear masks in settings under their ownership or control, including, but not limited to, healthcare facilities, offices, places of public accommodation, public venues, or public meetings.

Thus, businesses can require that customers still wear masks.

Schools will be subject to any further operational rules issued by the respective state agencies.

The Governor has indicated that the Department of Public Health will be issuing new guidance shortly to businesses. So this is all subject to further clarification and guidance. [The guidance was released late Wednesday, after this post was published.]

Employers should exercise caution in lifting all the restrictions that they have been operating under. Clearly we are making good progress in this pandemic but employers are still at risk for outbreaks, particularly with unvaccinated staff. In addition, we’re still awaiting guidance from OSHA as to what providing a safe workplace means in this “new normal”.

Talk with your legal counsel and work to figure out what makes sense for your business.  It’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all approach.

My firm will be posting more updates on our sister site here.