May 7, 2020

What Employers Need to Know About Face Coverings

Face Coverings Requirements

Governors and mayors have implemented measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19. As businesses begin to reopen, face coverings are likely to remain popular as a preventative measure. The jurisdictions listed below have encouraged or mandated its citizens to wear face coverings when out in public, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained. As of May 6, 2020 at 8 a.m. EDT, this chart identifies the jurisdictions where face coverings are recommended or required. We will update this list regularly, but it will be outdated quickly as new announcements are made.  This list does not include face covering guidance at the local level.  Therefore, employers must monitor news outlets and consult with counsel for details on additional orders that may apply.  SGR has a COVID-19 page that identifies employee screening guidance and return to work protocols.

 

Jurisdiction Required or Recommended Specifics
Federal Recommended CDC recommends that everyone wear a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

OSHA recommends allowing workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus.  But, OSHA does not advocate a one-size-fits-all approach.  It requires that all personal protective equipment (PPE) be:

  • Selected based on the hazard to the worker
  • Properly fitted and periodically refitted
  • Consistently and properly worn
  • Regularly inspected, maintained and replaced
  • Properly removed, cleaned and stored or disposed of

In light of shortages of certified respirators and masks, OSHA recommends a hierarchy of respiratory protection where appropriate:

  • NIOSH-certified equipment; then
  • Equipment certified under standards of other countries except China; then
  • Equipment certified under China’s standards; then
  • Face masks (e.g., medical masks, procedure masks)
Alabama None No state level order. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Alaska Required Wear a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Employees on commercial fishing vessels must wear masks. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Arizona Required Required for employees and customers of barbers and cosmetologists.

Residents are recommended to wear cloth face coverings in public places where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

Arkansas Required Required for restaurants reopening for dine-in. All staff who come in contact with patrons must wear a face mask that completely covers their nose and mouth. Staff in the back of house are encouraged to wear a face mask. All staff are required to wear gloves. Gloves shall be changed out between each customer, customer group, or task. Patrons must wear a face covering upon entrance and while in the restaurant until the food or drink is served, and may be refused service if not wearing a mask.

Required for reopening gyms and fitness centers. Employees must wear a face mask at all times. Patrons must wear a mask except when actively exercising.

Residents are encouraged to wear a cloth mask when in public and unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

California Recommended If available, and controls such as barriers to block or create physical distance between the employee and the customer are not feasible, employers should provide face masks to workers in the grocery industry with regular close contact with the public, such as cashiers, pharmacy workers, and baggers. Employers should train and encourage workers to wear the face covering of their choice voluntarily while at work. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Colorado Required Employees in critical businesses and critical government functions in which they interact in close proximity with other employees or with the public must (1) wear medical or non-medical cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth while working, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health; and (2) to the extent possible, wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods if gloves are provided to workers by their employer. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Connecticut Required Essential employees should use masks or cloth face coverings. NOTE: Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Delaware Required Employers must provide employees with a face covering to wear while working in areas open to the general public and areas in which coming within 6 feet of other staff is likely. All restaurants must require that employees who interact with customers (including, without limitation, delivery personnel) wear a face covering while working. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings as well as hand sanitizer for their employees. All employees are strongly encouraged to use personal face coverings until their employer provides a face covering.

Everyone must wear a face covering in specified public places, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health or where the individual is under two years of age. A business must decline entry to an individual refusing to wear a face covering, unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, in which case the business policy should provide alternate methods of pickup and/or delivery of such goods, or the individual has a medical condition that would prevent them from mask use.

District of Columbia Required Masks or mouth coverings are required for customers at retail food businesses. Retail food businesses must also procure and provide masks and gloves to their employees who come in close contact with the public, “if feasible.”

Masks or mouth coverings are also required for the following: hotel workers, hotel guests, and hotel visitors; individuals using taxis, ride shares, and private transportation providers; and workers and customers of food sellers. Food sellers, hotels, taxis, ride-sharing companies, and private transportation companies must procure and require employees and independent contractors to wear gloves and masks and instruct on proper use.

Recommended for everyone: wear a cloth mask if feeling ill, caring for someone who is ill, or visiting a healthcare provider’s office.

Employees of and individuals using public transportation are strongly encouraged to wear masks or mouth coverings.

Florida None Nothing at the state level. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Georgia Required Required for businesses permitted to reopen. Gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, estheticians, hair designers, and massage therapists reopening must comply with sanitation requirements and provide PPE as available and appropriate to the function and location of each employee.  Recommended for the general public. Everyone should wear cloth face coverings in public where other social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Hawaii Required All customers must wear a face covering while waiting to enter and while at an essential business or operation. All employees of essential businesses or operations who have any contact with customers or goods to be purchased must wear the cloth face covering recommended by the CDC while at work. NOTE: ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Idaho Recommended Employers should identify how personal use items such as masks, face coverings, and gloves may be required by employees, vendors, and/or patrons. Use of face coverings by the general public is strongly recommended.
Illinois Required Beginning May 1, 2020, essential businesses and manufacturers are required to provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain 6 feet of social distancing. People over age 2 must wear a mask or face covering when in a public place and they either cannot or it is impractical to maintain 6 feet of physical distance between themselves and others. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Indiana Required Face coverings are required for restaurant employees and personal care services employees.

Cloth face coverings recommended for residents in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain

Iowa None  

 

 

 

 

Kansas Recommended People are recommended to cover nose and mouth with a cloth mask while in public. NOTE: Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Kentucky Required Businesses must provide PPE to employees and ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that their employees wear a cloth mask. A business need not require an employee to wear a mask when masking would create a serious health or safety hazard to the employee or when the employee is working alone in an enclosed space. Businesses must ensure that employees whose job duties include touching items often touched by others (e.g., credit cards/cash, paper, computers) wear gloves that are regularly replaced.
Louisiana Required All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask.

Cloth face coverings recommended in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. NOTE: Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.

Maine Required Individuals must wear a cloth face covering in public when other social distancing is difficult. Employers in settings that are not typically accessible to the public may determine the persons who should wear a cloth face covering at their workplace and shall permit any employee who wants to wear a covering to do so. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Maryland Required All riders and operators on any public transportation are required to wear face coverings (excluding any operator in a separate compartment that is off-limits to riders).

All customers over age 9 are required to wear face coverings while inside the enclosed area of any retail establishment or food service establishment. Adult customers accompanying children age 2-9 must use reasonable efforts to ensure children wear face coverings.

All retail establishments shall require staff to wear, and those staff shall wear, face coverings while working in areas open to the public and areas in which interactions with other staff are likely.

All food service establishments shall require staff who interact with customers (including, without limitation, delivery personnel) to wear, and those staff shall wear, face coverings while working. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.

Massachusetts Required Residents over age 2 must wear face coverings in public settings, including in essential businesses and on public transportation. The requirement applies to both customers and employees of essential businesses. If a customer refuses to wear a face covering for non-medical reasons, the business may decline entry. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Michigan Required All businesses and operations whose workers perform in-person work must, at a minimum, provide non-medical grade face coverings to their workers. Food selling establishments and pharmacies must require checkout employees to wear face coverings.

Any individual able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth when in any enclosed public space. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.

Minnesota Required Workers at reopening retail establishments who may have limited interaction with customers for curbside or outdoor pickup or delivery must wear a non-medical cloth mask.

Cloth face coverings recommended in public where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Mississippi Recommended Residents should wear non-medical grade masks or homemade cloth masks when shopping, running errands, or otherwise away from home. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Missouri Recommended People should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Montana None  

 

Nebraska Required Restaurants permitted to reopen for dine-in must require all employees to wear masks.

Residents are recommended to wear a cloth face covering in public places where they cannot stay 6 feet away from others. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.

Nevada Recommended Grocery employers should require employees to wear face coverings.

People should use an improvised face covering whenever they leave their residence to obtain any essential good or service.

New Hampshire Required Retail, restaurant, golf course, and personal care services employees must wear cloth face coverings at all times when in the retail facility and in public locations or shared staff areas (e.g. break rooms), even if other individuals are not immediately present.

Employees of other essential businesses and organizations and those that are re-opening all or a portion of their operations are strongly recommended to wear a cloth face covering while at work and in potential close contact with others.

New Jersey Required Customers and employees of essential retail businesses (retail, restaurants, manufacturing, warehousing, essential construction) must wear cloth face coverings inside the business, and businesses may decline entry to customers not wearing a covering. Employees must also wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods. Businesses must provide, at their expense, the face coverings and gloves for employees.

NJ Transit and private transit companies must require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings while on trains, buses and light rail vehicles, and passengers may be declined entry if they do not wear a covering. The order specifies the requirements and exceptions. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.

New Mexico Recommendation Voluntary wearing of cloth face covering in public when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
New York Requirement Employers that are essential businesses must provide, at the employer’s expense, face coverings for employees to wear when performing work that involves direct contact with customers or members of the public.

Any individual who is over age 2 and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance. NOTE: New York City has its own face covering obligations. Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.

North Carolina Recommended Retail establishments are encouraged to supply, encourage the use of, and educate on proper use of, cloth face coverings for employees in close contact with patrons and other employees. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
North Dakota Required Required for personal care services employees.

Recommended for everyone else. Employees and the public should wear face coverings especially in settings where social distancing may be difficult to maintain. Employers should encourage use of face coverings by employees and contracted workers whose duties require close contact (within 6 feet for ten minutes or more) with other employees and/or the public.

Ohio Required Face coverings required for employers and employees; the guidance lists exceptions. Face coverings are recommended for all people (including clients/customers) who can safely wear them.
Oklahoma None No statewide order. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Oregon Recommended People are encouraged to wear cloth masks or face coverings in public places. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Pennsylvania Required Employers permitted to maintain in-person operations must provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement to wear masks while on the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink. Employers may approve masks or face coverings obtained or made by employees.

Businesses, other than health care providers, that serve the public within a building or a defined area require all customers to wear masks while on premises, and deny entry to people not wearing masks, unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, in which case the business must provide alternative methods of pick-up or delivery of such goods. Customers who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, and children under the age of two, may enter the premises without a mask. Customers are not required to provide documentation of a medical condition. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.

Rhode Island Required All employees and customer/client-facing businesses, non-profit organizations, and office-based businesses and non-profits, that are operating must wear cloth face coverings unless an employee can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other employees or customers for the duration of his or her work. All such businesses must provide, at their expense, face coverings or materials for making of face coverings to their employees. Coverings or materials may be made available staff-wide or individually upon employee’s request as long as the result is organization-wide use of coverings.
South Carolina Recommended People are recommended to wear masks in situations where social distancing may be difficult to maintain.
South Dakota Recommended People are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Tennessee Recommended Employees are encouraged to wear a face covering at work. Members of the public are encouraged to wear a face covering in public places. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Texas Required All employees of reopened retail businesses must wear face coverings. NOTE:  Please ask your SGR Employment attorney regarding requirements for specific localities.
Utah Required Wear a cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth in any place of public accommodation, including retail establishments and grocery stores, and whenever social distancing is not possible.

Required for reopening during Moderate Risk phase for the following businesses: restaurants, retail, lodging, personal services, gyms and fitness centers.

Vermont Required All businesses operating during the state of emergency must require employees to wear non-medical cloth face coverings over their nose and mouth when in the presence of others. For retail cashiers, a translucent shield or “sneeze guard” is acceptable in lieu of a mask.
Virginia Recommended People should wear a cloth face covering in public places.
Washington Required Residents are recommended to wear cloth face coverings when they are in public where they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others.

Low-risk construction: masks are required at all times by all employees on a job site.

West Virginia Required Reopening personal care services (barbershops, salons, etc.) must ensure all employees wear masks.

Restaurants open for takeout, or that will reopen for dining when the state permits, must require all employees to wear face coverings at all times.  Small businesses (10 or fewer employees) are recommended to require their employees who have contact with customers to wear a mask and gloves.

Wisconsin Recommended People should wear a cloth face cover when outside the home conducting essential activities.
Wyoming Required Required for gym employees and personal care services employees and customers.

Grocery store and retail employees are recommended to follow CDC guidance regarding wearing face coverings while at work. Customers should be encouraged to wear face coverings while in the store.

If you have any questions about this client alert, please contact your SGR Labor and Employment counsel.


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