While many states have lifted shelter-in-place orders allowing businesses to re-open, COVID-19 case spikes in many cities have spurred new regulations that require the use of face coverings for all employees and customers based on CDC recommendations. Many businesses have also chosen to require masks, regardless of if their state or county requires it, for the protection of their employees and customers using OSHA’s guidelines on preparing workplaces for COVID-19.
New face mask policies for people returning to the workplace should be addressed in your welcome back letter to employees, but you may wish to create a separate document outlining this policy in more detail.
Below, we’ve documented how to create an employee notice regarding face coverings they can understand what is required of them under this new policy.
The notice should be tailored for individuals required to be in the physical workplace. Begin by letting your employees know where the guidelines are coming from such as CDC recommendations, state and local legislature, or OSHA requirements.
Then clearly state what is required of employees. Let them know when and where they are required to wear a mask, and what qualifies as an acceptable mask. If possible, the business should provide employees with appropriate masks. You should also educate employees about the proper way to use masks.
We created an example of what a coronavirus mask policy notice for employees could look like. This notice is just an example and the contents of the policy might vary greatly depending on your business’ location, industry, and needs and this example should not be taken as legal advice. You should always review applicable local mandates to ensure compliance.
That said, based on what we currently know from CDC and OSHA guidance, we have put together a starting place for your business to create your own coronavirus mask policy:
We continue to monitor our workplace and add safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government organizations. In line with those safety measures, we are providing this guidance regarding the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Unless otherwise notified by your direct supervisor, you are required to wear a face covering at work. A face covering is generally a cloth, bandana, or other type of material that covers an employee’s mouth and nose. The CDC recommends that individuals wear cloth face coverings in public places or when it is impossible to practice social distancing.
Remember that wearing a face covering can help prevent the spread of the disease, but only in addition to other measures that you should be taking in the workplace and at home, such as frequent hand washing, cleaning and sanitizing frequently-touched surfaces, and practicing social distancing.
If you feel sick or if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell), let your supervisor know, go home immediately, and contact your healthcare provider for additional guidance.
To get the most benefits from a face covering:
- Make sure it completely covers your nose and mouth.
- Read the directions for use (if provided).
- Wash your hands before and after removing it.
- Try not to touch your face when you adjust it throughout the day.
- Keep cloth coverings clean by washing daily, or more often if contamination occurs.
- Don’t let others wear your face covering.
- Keep it away from machinery that it could get caught in.
- If using disposable face coverings, do not reuse them, and throw them away in appropriate trash receptacles.
- Don’t lay your face covering on any surface that may contaminate either the covering or the surface.
- Don’t use it if it’s damaged or has holes, unless it is the only face covering you have access to.
If you have any questions about the use of masks or face coverings in the workplace, contact Human Resources or a designated safety officer.
The policy should be printed on the official company letterhead and distributed to employees. If you have a modern HRIS like GoCo, you should be able to create a template for the policy that will allow you to automatically insert each employee’s information into it, and allow for them to eSign it as acknowledgement that they’ve read the policy.
With GoCo’s MagicDocs feature you can create policies as a document available for employees to access on their own should they need to print another copy or reference it for any reason. It also allows you to collect signatures on the policy to confirm that employees have read and understand the new requirements.
If you have questions about how to use GoCo to communicate new policies with your employees in light of COVID-19, contact us. Our team is on standby to help you navigate these unprecedented changes and make the adjustments as easy as possible to keep your business going smoothly.
The GoCo team is working hard to support HR pros through COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more tools and tips.