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Understanding the CDC’s new mask guidance

July 29, 2021

The CDC recently reversed course, and recommended that all individuals wear face coverings indoors, in areas of high or substantial transmission. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view

We understand this has business owners confused as to if this is a rule they must now follow.

First of all, the State of Michigan has not issued any type of additional mask requirement based on these guidelines, and Governor Whitmer has signaled that it is currently not her intent to do so. However, there is some nuance with MiOSHA, within its ‘general duty’ clause for employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. In the past, when asked to define how a business would be evaluated if an employee complaint were filed, absent explicit rules, MiOSHA said they would fall back on CDC guidance. Still, without a state rule, it is not likely that the state would have any standing to actually cite noncompliance with CDC guidance. 

So what does this mean? There is no state or federal rule requiring masks. While the CDC is recommending that all individuals in certain areas wear a mask, they are not recommending that employers mandate masks. It is our belief that businesses operating in high or substantial risk counties could meet this optional CDC guidance by recommending (not requiring) employees to wear masks, just as the CDC recommends that or all unvaccinated employees to wear face coverings regardless of location.

Bottom line? It’s your decision on how or if to incorporate this guidance into your business. 

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