As employers begin reopening offices and employees return to the workplace, The Lipp Law Firm has received questions about how to safely and effectively do so. One of the main questions is whether employers must require employees to wear masks in the workplace. For now, the answer is generally “yes”—employees, regardless of vaccination status, in areas of Virginia with “high or substantial community transmission” must wear masks while indoors, unless they are alone in a room, actively drinking or eating, or have a medical or religious exemption.
In January 2022, however, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin issued an Executive Order that required the Safety and Health Codes Board to hold an emergency meeting and review the need for mask mandates and other COVID-19-related mandates affecting private businesses under the current laws and regulations. It is likely only a matter of time until there are amendments to the Virginia standards for employers.
In the meantime, here some considerations under current Virginia laws and regulations for employers reopening their offices.
Compliance issues concerning masks typically arise from employee complaints, so employers should ensure they are fulfilling their obligations under current Virginia laws. If you need assistance with creating return-to-work plans and policies, do not hesitate to contact Lipp Law today.
Katie dedicates her practice to employment separation guidance.
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