Businesses Maintain Option to Require Masks

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement that fully vaccinated individuals only need to wear masks in certain settings, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is reminding Pennsylvanians that fully vaccinated individuals may choose not to wear a mask, unless a business or organization, such as a school, requires that added layer of protection.

The CDC guidance states that fully vaccinated individuals – two weeks after their final dose — can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by law, rule, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. Under the guidance, individuals are still being required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. In addition, all individuals should still follow guidance at workplaces, local businesses, long-term care facilities, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters.

The State Secretary of Health’s face covering order remains in effect for people who are not fully vaccinated, including children. Once 70 percent of Pennsylvanians over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated, Pennsylvania will lift the masking order. As of May 14, 47.4 percent of adults 18 and older were fully vaccinated in Pennsylvania.

Employers are considering how to manage this latest guidance. Many are erring on the side of caution by continuing to require masks for all employees in the workplace. OSHA has not yet updated its guidance, but references the latest CDC guidance, which creates regulatory uncertainty. The Chamber of Commerce will provide further updates and guidance as it becomes available.