With 18.5 percent of the U.S. having received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose and 9.5 percent being fully vaccinated (as of March 9, 2021), finally it's time to reap some rewards! Just not at work.
The CDC released guidelines that reduced restrictions on fully vaccinated people, but, as employment attorney Jon Hyman points out, "unless everyone entering your workplace is fully vaccinated, masks, distancing, and bans on gatherings will remain the norm for a little while longer."
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physically distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe Covid-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physically distancing
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic
The last one is most important for businesses. If you have an outbreak at your office, the fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine unless they start to feel sick. While the number of outbreaks should continue to drop, we have to keep being diligent while at the office.
The CDC says that at present, here's how the fully vaccinated should act in all other situations:
- Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and practicing social distancing
- Wear masks, keep social distance, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe Covid-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe Covid-19 disease
- Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
- Avoid medium-size and large in-person gatherings
- Get tested if experiencing Covid-19 symptoms
- Follow guidance issued by individual employers
- Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations
So, you can't have a big sales meeting, tell your vaccinated people to come to work when they feel sick, or send your employees off on airplanes without masks.
It's pretty much business as usual--as long as you base your usual on 2020 and not any other year.
Please continue to encourage employees to receive their Covid-19 vaccination when it's available to them. Some states are doing better than others in getting the vaccine out, so pay attention to when it's available in your state. And remember, it's generally based on where you live rather than where you work. If your business has employees from multiple states, the guidelines may vary.
Hopefully, we will soon reach herd immunity, and we can go back to crazy customs like shaking hands and letting strangers see our noses. Until then, keep your business following CDC guidelines--even if you live in a state that doesn't require masking in public.