CDC Mask Guidance Lacks Clarity for Businesses

May 19, 2021

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines for individuals who have been fully vaccinated, however very little clarity was provided for business owners. A person is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series (such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after a single dose vaccine (such as the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine). Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue wearing masks and social distancing.

Fully vaccinated individuals can:

  • Resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • Travel within the United States without getting tested before or after travel or self-quarantine.
  • Continue regular activities and do not need to get tested after being around someone who has COVID-19, as long as you have no symptoms.
    • However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Fully vaccinated individuals still need to :

  • Follow guidance at workplaces and local businesses.
  • Wear masks while traveling on planes, buses, trains, and other public transportation.
  • Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially after being exposed to someone who is sick. Individuals with symptoms need to get tested and self-quarantine.
  • Individuals who have a weakened immune system should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss the precautions they need to continue taking.

Unfortunately, the guidelines don’t offer any clarity for business owners – either as brick-and-mortar proprietors or as employers. Given the near impossibility of determining if someone has, in fact, been fully vaccinated, the rapid guidance change and subsequent mask mandate repeals among many states has left businesses–large and small–wondering what their role is, and what it should be going forward.

NSBA is working to put together a webinar with labor law experts to provide you with what this guidance means for your small business. Stay tuned.