Managing Masks in the Workplace
August 27th, 2020
Depending on the state you live in, masks are now very commonplace when you are out and about. While some have made mask-wearing political statements about personal rights versus COVID spread, here in Colorado, the Governor has mandated wearing them. As a result of the mask mandate, we do get asked how employers should navigate mask-wearing in the workplace. As your Denver PEO, here are some tips to help you navigate the mask mandate.
Understanding The Mask Mandate
The Colorado mask mandate pertains mostly to indoor public spaces. So when you are out getting groceries or going to indoor places where others are gathered, you need to be wearing a mask. This is especially the case where keeping distanced at all times is not possible. This mandate also applies to mass transit services such as taxi, light rail, or ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft.
The term “public indoor space” means any publicly or privately owned, managed, or operated, enclosed indoor area that is accessible to the public, is a place of employment or is an entity that provides services. Or, to simplify, any indoor space other than your own home.
Mask Guidance for Employers
When it comes to the office environment, employers do have to abide by the mask mandate as it does include all offices, lobbies, elevators, common areas, hallways, restrooms, etc. As a result, employers and businesses must:
- Enforce mask-wearing when clients visit the office – Businesses must refuse service to customers or clients who are not wearing masks and visiting the office
- Spaced out – We do encourage, if your employees have to be in the office, that their work stations be spaced out to enable social distancing of at least 6 feet
- Wear a mask – If you cannot effectively socially distance, and you are indoors, you must wear the mask. This includes, for example, if you are having a meeting in a conference room with other team members.
- Common areas – A lot of businesses have kitchen or gathering areas. In such places, employees must wear a mask.
- Provide alternatives – If the team can work effectively from home, allow them to do so. Also, if there are people on your team with disabilities or medical conditions where mask-wearing is not possible, you need to provide them with an alternative, which could include allowing them to work from home.
- High-risk employees – If you have team members that are at high-risk for COVID, perhaps undergoing cancer treatment, diabetes, asthma, or older, you must allow them similar alternatives, as noted above.
For more information on the Colorado Mask Mandate:
Mask Common Sense
Overall, a great deal of the mask mandate is common sense. If your team works indoors in an office, then you need to wear a mask, especially when clients are visiting. Conversely, those clients need to wear a mask. Space out employees that have to come into the office. Wear masks in common areas, hallways, restrooms, etc. The best thing, however, is to allow those that can work from home to do. Also, provide alternatives to those who are at high-risk, including the ability to work from home. If you have any further questions about this, please feel free to contact us at 303-221-0558.