What Does CDC Masking Guidance Mean for Employers?

While Pennsylvania’s face covering order was lifted on June 28th, the PA Department of Health continues to urge individuals to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law, rule, and regulations, including healthcare, individual businesses, and workplaces. The CDC requires individuals 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. Most recently, the CDC has added the recommendation that masks be worn, regardless of vaccination status, while indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission. As of August 16th, Columbia County is at a high transmission rate and Montour is at substantial rate. This latest guidance from the CDC is again causing confusion for employers.

The CDC guidance regarding masking indoors is not a legal requirement or OSHA regulation at this point. However, OSHA’s Wilkes Barre office has advised the Chamber that an employer could be cited for creating an unsafe working environment if a claim were filed by an employee. Businesses could also face litigation from customers as liability protections have not been provided by the state or federal governments.