On May 13, 2021, the CDC issued its Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. This guidance, which applies to non-healthcare settings, substantially modified the CDC’s prior guidance as to what activities fully vaccinated individuals may engage in based on updated data on the efficacy of the vaccines. This guidance had two significant takeaways. First, subject to state and local laws and workplace guidance, fully vaccinated individuals may resume indoor activities without wearing masks or physically distancing. Second, fully vaccinated individuals with no COVID-like symptoms following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 do not need to quarantine, be tested, or be restricted from work.
Following the CDC’s announcement, on Friday, May 14, 2021, Governor Hogan issued an updated Executive Order 21-05-14-01 lifting capacity restrictions on all businesses in the state of Maryland and the statewide mask mandate. He further announced that work search requirements for continued eligibility for unemployment benefits will be reinstated in late June.
For businesses deciding on reopening plans, these developments could potentially be game-changing. By reinstating the work search rules for unemployment benefit eligibility, employees now have an additional incentive to re-enter the workforce. Lifting mask restrictions and capacity limitations makes it easier to resume in-person operations. That said, there are still hurdles to overcome. Employees still need to self-isolate and/or get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and unvaccinated employees need to self-isolate and/or get tested if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. For employers with a high number of unvaccinated employees, distancing measures still may need to be maintained and masks for unvaccinated employees may be required. Finally, even for those workers who have been vaccinated, the general question of whether and to what extent remote work should continue to be offered remains.
The attorneys at Luchansky Law are continuously monitoring federal, state, and local developments surrounding COVID-19, which change regularly. If you have questions about how to adjust your business’ return to work plan in light of the most recent developments, please call Greg Currey at 410-522-1020.