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OSHA Tells Employers to Follow CDC Mask Guidance (1)

May 17, 2021, 5:30 PMUpdated: May 17, 2021, 6:26 PM

The federal government’s workplace safety agency, OSHA, has instructed employers to follow the new CDC mask guidance for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also said on its website that it’s considering the impact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance might have on advice already issued by the commission about Covid-19 policies and anti-discrimination laws.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a website update Monday that it’s “reviewing the recent CDC guidance and will update our materials on this website accordingly.” Until then, it said, employers and workers should refer to the CDC guidance for information “on measures appropriate to protect fully vaccinated workers.”

OSHA’s update ends some confusion over whether employers must adhere to the agency’s Jan. 29 guidance supporting the use of masks in the workplace, after the CDC shifted gears May 13 and recommended that fully vaccinated people not wear masks in most situations.

The CDC’s guidance said fully vaccinated people could resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing as long as wearing a mask wasn’t required by laws, rules, or a government’s workplace guidance.

The change was made after studies showed there was little chance of fully vaccinated people spreading Covid-19 or becoming infected.

—With assistance from Paige Smith

(Updated with additional reporting throughout.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Lauinger at jlauinger@bloomberglaw.com; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com

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