While loosening some restrictions on businesses, Governor Pritzker announced yesterday that employers of essential businesses must provide face masks to employees who cannot maintain social distancing mandates while working.
The Governor’s statement including the following related to workplaces:
ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURING: Essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for manufacturers.
The Governor provided no details regarding whether specific masks would be required or what additional precautions, such as staggered shift, would be ordered.
Employers should continue to evaluate ways to ensure social distancing among workers and obtain masks for those employees who cannot do so.
Also, yesterday the EEOC issued guidance stating that employers will be allowed to test employees for COVID-19 before they enter a worksite without running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This begs the question of whether testing is really possible right now. Several weeks ago, the EEOC issued guidance that allowed for temperature taking. The more immediate concern for employers when an employee comes to work with cold or flu-like symptoms or reports possible exposure is whether to allow that employee to work. The employee should almost always be sent home. The CDC has issued guidelines on when employees can return to work in these situations. Generally, those who believe they have been exposed should remain home for 14 days and those with respiratory or flu-like symptoms can return when they are symptom-free for 72 hours or submit a negative COVID-19 test result.