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All You Need to Know About State Mandates for Face Coverings in the Workplace

By hire-up-staffing in News and Updates

We at Hire Ups are keeping a close eye on new mandates and laws relating to workplace environments.  Local and state governments are implementing industry-specific guidelines to ensure a risk-free environment for employees. Especially as counties across different states are experiencing spikes in the number of new Covid 19 cases.  A real challenge to keep up with a moving target.

In this post, we focused on the mandates in the states where we work; namely, Arizona, Colorado, California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Washington state.  Each of these states re-opened in different time frames according to the reopening roadmap.  And are consequently issuing mandates as cases of the virus are increasing.

Here’s what’s happening across these states:

# 1  –  Arizona

“Mask Up Arizona” says it all, right?  While wearing masks is not a statewide mandate, all the local Mayors asked the Governor for authorization to mandate and enforce the use of face coverings.  There is grave concern by officials as their state is experiencing a spike in cases, particularly along the southern border of Mexico.

The Governor’s office requires face masks for workers in the State’s office while at work unless an employee is in a meeting with adequate distancing or in their cubicle or office.

Throughout State government, telework has greatly expanded more than 45%.  Roughly 32,000 members of the state workforce are telecommuting.

Maricopa County is now, in a complete about face, requiring masks anytime a distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained between people.  Gila County has also issued a mandate.

  • Social distancing is required in public and indoors as possible.

#2  –  Colorado:

Masks are required when working in critical businesses and reopening businesses in which workers interact in close proximity with other employees or the public.

  • When out in public especially when social distancing cannot be maintained effectively.
  • When employees are working
  • Gloves are also required if in close contact with customers such as banks,

Child care facilities, pharmacies, and grocery stores.

#3 –   California:

There is a statewide mandate requiring the use of face coverings when in public or Common spaces.   You must wear a face covering if you cannot maintain a 6 foot distance from other people.  So masks are mandated as workers come and go in the building and are in less than six feet of each other.  Masks can be removed if there is adequate spacing between workstations.

  • Employers should create 6 foot spacing between employees where possible by modifying or adjusting seats, furniture and workstations.    Dividers are recommended when 6 foot spacing is not possible.
  • Employees are also required to wash hands frequently and effectively when they arrive at work, leave their workstations for breaks, use the bathroom, before or after they eat or drink or using any tobacco products or after touching any surfaces suspected of being contaminated.
  • Employers are asked to increase the percentage of outdoor air for improved ventilation. The suggestion is to increase total air flow supply to occupied spaces.
  • Stanislaus County requires face coverings indoors when social distancing of six feet is not possible.
  • Employers are encouraged to stagger breaks and lunches to minimize  occupancy in break rooms.

#4   –  Illinois 

In Illinois, masks are mandated indoors and out when people are unable to safely 

Distance from each other (6 feet).   This includes businesses and residents.  Some examples are:

  • Interacting with customers, clients and co-workers at essential businesses
  • Shopping and essential businesses like grocery stores
  • Picking up food from a drive-thru or curbside
  • Visiting a health care provider 
  • Traveling on public transportation
  • Performing essential services for state and local government agencies, especially where close interaction with other people is unavoidable, like laboratory testing.

#5 – Nevada

The Governor has called for a mandate for masks to be worn by everyone in all public spaces.  Nevada has also experienced a steady rise in Corona cases over the last 3 weeks, which triggered the need for a mandate.  Clearly caution is greatly exercised in a state where public exposure is so extreme.

As most offices continue to observe social distancing and remote working, Nevada Health Response has also issued guidance for those office workers returning to the workplace. 

  •  Face coverings are required for all employees, except for those “working alone  in an enclosed work space” 
  • Social distancing is required as in the other states.

#6  –  Texas:

  • All the major cities, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio,  Austin, Fort Worth have mandated face coverings.  Mayors of nine cities sent a letter to the Governor asking permission to enforce mask orders.  Especially when people are less than 6 feet apart from each other.
  • Employees must maintain at least six feet separation from other individuals. If such distancing is not feasible, other measure such as face covering, hand washing and cough etiquette should be rigorously practiced.
  • Stagger break times to minimize close contact.
  • Provide dividers between employees if six feet of separation is not available.

#7  –  Washington State:

There is a statewide mandate to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants.  Additionally, outside if people cannot stay 6 feet apart from each other.

A mask is not required if you are working alone in an office, or the job has no in-person interaction.  This applies to employees working in separate rooms.

  • Employers must ensure all employees keep at least six feet away from coworkers and the public, when feasible.
  • Employers must provide a safe and healthy workplace.  The suggested idea is moving workstations further apart.
  • Also suggested is reducing the number of workstations in use at a given time.
  • Staggering work schedules so workers don’t crowd the number of people entering the office or building.
  • Employers must ensure social distancing for employees and customers and control customer flow
  • Frequent and adequate employee hand washing 
  • Employers must ensure all employees keep at least six feet away from coworkers and the public, when feasible.
  •  Other prevention measures are required such as use of barriers to block    sneezes and coughs, and ventilation improvements when social distancing is not feasible.
  • Sick employees must stay home
  • Employers must provide basic workplace hazard education about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission in languages best understood by employees
  •  It is against the law for any employer to take adverse action such as firing or    threats against a worker exercising health and safety rights

As an employer,  common sense goes a long way along with these mandates.  We know your employees’ health and well being is your top priority.  We will continue to bring updates and clarification on new regulations to your attention to support you in these constantly changing times.

If you are short staffed and need a quality, temporary employee, we’ve got you covered.  Just contact the office nearest you and we will get the process started!

Be Well and Successful!