The CDC’s New Mask Guidance

The On May 16, 2021 the CDC, (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) updated their COVID-19 guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals and enacted a new mask guidance. Based on what the CDC knows about COVID-19 vaccinations, people who have been fully vaccinated can start returning to their day-to- day activities that were halted due to the ongoing pandemic.  So, if you are looking for the most up-to-date CDC guidelines, we have a breakdown of the latest guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals and what they mean for businesses, employees, and returning to work.

The first question you may have is,”how do these new guidelines affect me or my business?“  Well, to answer this question you must first answer the following…

Have you and your employees been fully vaccinated?

The CDC defines any individual as being fully vaccinated if:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines)
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine)

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are not considered fully vaccinated.  And, you are still advised by the CDC to take precautions during the pandemic.  However, if you are fully vaccinated, as defined above, you can resume most activities you carried out prior to the pandemic.

So you are fully vaccinated, now what?

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

If you have been fully vaccinated, you can now resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic, per the new CDC new mask guidances and guidelines.  According to the CDC, individuals who are fully vaccinated can resume most activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.  However, there are still times when federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations may require masks and social distancing. Businesses and workplaces will also have their own rules and guidance.

CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals:

The CDC’s latest guidance on May 16th, 2021 for people who are fully vaccinated:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals may resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.  Except where required by local laws and workplace guidance.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals don’t need to quarantine after close contact with COVID-19 cases.

CDC on Masks: CDC New Mask GuidanceCDC Mask Guidance

  • Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals need to continue wearing masks, while also still maintaining social distance.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals are to wear masks where required by law. These include businesses and workplaces that have opted to require masks as well as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, public transportation and transportation hubs like airports, subways, and train terminals.

CDC’s Exemptions on Masks: CDC New Mask Guidance

The following groups may be exempt from mask mandates:

  • Individuals with a physical disability that prevents removing their mask.
  • Anyone who has intellectual, developmental, cognitive, or psychiatric disability.
  • Individuals who use assistive devices.
  • Anyone with severe sensory disability.
  • Any instance where wearing a mask would cause inability to breathe or respiratory distress.

Check out the CDC’s updated guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals below.

Updated CDC Guidelines:

  • You do NOT need to get tested before or after travel within the United States.  And you do not need to self-quarantine after travel.
  • Everyone should pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
  • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
  • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
  • Everyone should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
  • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.

*However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

However, there are still caveats to the new CDC guidelines, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Precautions Fully Vaccinated Individuals should take:

CDC MaskEven if you are fully vaccinated, it does not mean you can completely return to your pre-pandemic routines.  The CDC is still recommending that fully vaccinated individuals should follow their workplace and local business guidelines.  When traveling, you are still required to wear a mask, especially when traveling internationally!  Everyone should still be on high alert for any symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick.  Even if you are fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends getting tested if you have been around someone sick.

Want to learn more about these recommendations? Check out the CDC’s new mask guidance and expanded Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

What the CDC knows about COVID-19 Vaccines:

The CDC states that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease.  Especially severe illness or death, and helps reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

As a Business, now what?

As the CDC loosens COVID-19 restrictions, it can be difficult to understand what policies a company needs in order to stay compliant with local and federal COVID-19 guidelines. So, what does that mean for your business with the CDC’s new mask guidance and your employees?

Collecting Vaccination Information from Employees:

Many companies are collecting vaccination information from employees, because it can be important for analyzing risk and setting company policies.  One California County is now already requiring employers to collect vaccination information from their employees.  Under the ADA, vaccination information must be kept confidential and must not be stored in an employee’s personnel file.

Employee Health Screening: 

Employee screening requirements still vary across states and counties.  It is important to note that requirements are startingCDC Guidelines to change in response to the CDC’s new vaccination guidance, with some health screenings still being required in certain locations. Many workplaces will have individuals who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons. In addition, vaccinated individuals can still get COVID-19, so it is best to have policies in place.  In accordance with local guidelines, some businesses may be able to require that only unvaccinated individuals fill out a health screener.

Solutions to the New CDC Mask Guidance

According to the SHRM Foundation, and attorney Adam Pankratz with Ogletree Deakins in Seattle, the new CDC guidance only applies to employees who are fully vaccinated, and is only applicable if states and local regulations allow it. However, these guidelines do not apply to every industry.  Most employers will need to determine whether or not they will be asking employees if they’ve been vaccinated. And, right now is the most important time for a return-to-work policy and that’s why you need Sixfifty’s Return-to-Work Solution!

Need more information? Check out our latest webinar on the Vaccines and Masks: What’s Required and What’s Optional

Return-to-Work for Companies

At SixFifty, we are here to help your business find the solutions for the new way we work, whether that means returning to worksites, or enabling employees to telecommute and work-from-home. We partnered with employment experts at Wilson Sonsini to help you assess your back-to-work readiness, produce back-to-work policies, and track your employees health, so you can stay compliant with local and federal COVID-19 guidelines.

With our Return-to-Work assessment, you answer questions about your back-to-work readiness and create a document that provides guidance on how to move forward. This tool also outlines how your employees should return to the workplace now that authorities have updated COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals.  In addition, there is also a COVID-19 telecommuting policy that outlines how employees can work from home.

Sixfifty Can Help!

Sixfifty regularly updates the Return-to-Work Toolset to reflect the latest CDC new mask guidance, requirements and recommendations from federal health authorities and agencies, as well as covered state and local government.

Still have questions? Schedule a free demo today!