Most of the United States is at a high level of transmission of COVID–19 among unvaccinated persons. It is very important that all healthy people get vaccinated as soon as possible to stop the spread of COVID–19 and shorten the amount of time we must deal with the virus.
It is legal in Alabama and many states for employers to enact policies making the vaccines mandatory for employees. Businesses not under direct government control, can, if they develop policies, procedures, train employees and follow the law:
- Make vaccines mandatory for employees, and
- Require that face coverings to be worn.
Many companies understood soon after initial lockdown, that to be able to resume doing business, they would need to take steps to protect employees and attempt to protect clients. These employers, after developing policies, procedures and training and educating employees about the virus, required employees and clients to:
- Wear face coverings
- Sanitize hands frequently
They strongly encouraged employees to get vaccinated when the vaccines were available.
These employers recognized the hazard and worked to set the standard of protecting their employees and clients, and they have benefitted from these protective measures. Other companies struggle with keeping enough employees on staff to properly represent the company and service their clientele.
To maximize protection against the Delta variant, current CDC recommendations are:
- If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in all indoor public places.
- Unvaccinated people should get vaccinated and continue masking in all settings until fully vaccinated.
- In general, if you are fully vaccinated:
- You do not need to wear a mask in typical outdoor settings.
- In areas of high risk of spread of COVID–19, which includes most of the United States, you should wear a face mask in crowded outdoor settings where you are in close contact with others.
- To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public places.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be protected, especially from COVID variants, even if they have been fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions that are recommended for unvaccinated people including distancing, wearing a well-fitted mask, and sanitizing hands frequently until advised by their local healthcare provider.
- Wearing a mask is very important if someone in your household has a weakened immune system or is at risk for severe disease.
- Until vaccinations are available for children, youth between the ages of 2 and 12 should wear a face mask in public spaces and around people they don’t live with if their health allows. This includes schools and childcare locations. Exceptions can be made for children who cannot wear a mask safely.
Masks should not be worn by:
- Children under the age of 2
- A person with a disability who cannot safely wear a mask
- A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to health, safety or job duty as determined by a workplace risk assessment
People who communicate by reading lips will find it difficult to interact when others are wearing masks. Clear masks can be worn to make communication better.
If wearing a mask in the work setting could increase the risk of heat-related illness or cause safety concerns, discuss this with your safety manager, or other safety professional to find a solution.
Widespread vaccination is critical to stopping the pandemic and the variants of COVID–19 from mutating and spreading. It will help keep medical expenses in check and it will help businesses stay open to better serve clients and better protect employees from hospitalization due to COVID-19.
This communication was authored by our Loss Control and Safety Manager Tim Rogers.