New CDC Mask Guide Complicates Back-to-Office Plans

Two months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was OK for vaccinated people to wear masks indoors, the agency Reverse route on Tuesday, saying that Americans should wear masks again, at least in areas with high rates of coronavirus infection.

The announcement complicates return-to-office plans for many companies at a time when the Delta variant is forcing some to delay start dates.

Apple told employees on Tuesday that it will reinstate the mask requirement for everyone indoors in some US offices, according to an internal memo from The New York Times.

And Asana, a software company, told its employees last week that it was delaying the return-to-office date for all employees in San Francisco and New York to earlier than February 1. The company also imposes a vaccination requirement for all employees who come to the office.

Influenced by research on the Delta variant, which is causing rising cases and “breakthrough” infections in vaccinated people, the official guidance targets places where the virus has spread. Currently, this covers about two-thirds of the US states. According to the guide, all residents of Florida must wear masks indoors, whether vaccinated or not.

Companies that have already opened their doors must decide whether to abandon their masking policies. When CDC removed masking guide in MayMany companies have issued new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated employees and customers to return unmasked. The move was an important stimulus for workers, as well as a sign that the pandemic was beginning to subside. It provided a sense of security and normalcy for employees on their return to the offices.

Walmart, which started to allow He did not respond to a request for comment from employees who were fully vaccinated to go out without a mask in May. Neither did a spokesperson for Kroger. likewise reduced masking restrictions.

In New York, financial firms have already started calling workers back. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, which allow fully vaccinated employees to go unmasked, did not comment on the CDC’s announcement. A spokesperson for American Express said the company has “no updates to share” as the company has yet to return to the office.

“People are enjoying their freedom, so I don’t know if we’ll be able to go back,” said Alana Ackels, a labor attorney at Bell Nunnally. He added that after the CDC’s guidance in May, his phone “started ringing because everyone wanted to get rid of the mask.” “I didn’t receive a single call about it,” he said on Tuesday evening, after the agency’s comeback.

Casino and hotel giant MGM Resorts International said on Tuesday it will require all guests and visitors to wear masks indoors in public, “based on the latest information and guidance from healthcare professionals and public officials.”

The National Retail Federation, which represents businesses at the forefront of managing and enforcing public masking policies, said in a statement that “retailers will continue to follow the CDC’s guidance.” when widespread vaccination is the surest known way to reduce the virus threat.

The CDC’s move could spur more institutional vaccine mandates, he said. David Schwartz, who leads the worker group at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. This may be a preferable alternative to “requiring employees and customers to wear masks and failing to maintain a consistent policy”. The Washington Post joins a short but growing list of private companies on Tuesday requiring vaccination as a condition of employment.

CDC’s director, Dr. If businesses think vaccine mandates are beneficial, “we encourage them to do so,” said Rochelle Walensky.

Government officials are imposing vaccination instructions in the country. state, local and federal levels recently and promoting private companies follow the case. President Biden expected announce Vaccination mandatory for all two million civilian federal employees on Thursday.

Kellen Browning’s photo. and Sarah Kessler contributing reporting.

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