DECD Safe Workplace Rules Clarify Continuous Mask Use ‘At Work’
On April 17, 2020, Governor Lamont issued  Executive Order 7BB , which requires masks or cloth coverings to be worn in public places when social distancing approximately six feet from every other person is not possible, and specifically while using the services of a taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing or similar service or means of mass public transit, or while within any semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area. 
 
Per the order, on April 21, 2020, the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development (“DECD”) issued updated  Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers  providing clarification that employees are permitted to remove their masks when eating or drink during break time, working alone in segregated spaces, or while working outdoors and not regularly within six feet of other employees. 
 
Employers must provide the masks or cloth coverings, and if not able to do so, employers must provide employees with the materials to create the masks or cloth coverings or compensate employees for reasonable costs expended to make their own masks or cloth coverings. The updated DECD safety rules specifically state:
 
Masks or Cloth Face Coverings Required
 
  • Each employee shall be required to wear a mask or other cloth material that covers his or her mouth and nose while in the workplace, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink. Employers shall issue such masks or cloth face coverings to their employees. In the event an employer is unable to provide masks or cloth face coverings to employees because of shortages or supply chain difficulties, employers must provide the materials and CDC tutorial about how to create a cloth face covering, or compensate employees for the reasonable and necessary costs employees expend on such materials to make their own masks or cloth face covering.
 
  • In workplace settings where employees are working alone in segregated spaces (i.e. cubicles with walls, private offices, etc.), employees may remove their masks. However, workers shall wear a mask or face covering from the time they enter the building until the time they arrive at their cubicle/work station and at any time they are leaving their work station and moving around common areas (i.e. in hallways and stairwells, going to the restroom or break room, etc.). For employees working in congregate settings (i.e. open manufacturing floors, warehouses, areas open to the public, shared offices, or similar settings), those workers shall wear a face covering as above, as well as when they are at their work station. In addition, continuous wearing of masks is not required in outdoor workspaces where employees do not regularly come within six feet of other employees.
 
  • Nothing in these rules shall require the use of a mask or cloth face covering by anyone for whom doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety because of a medical condition.
 
  • If a person declines to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a medical condition as described above, such person shall not be required to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition.
 
The rules under Executive Order 7BB went into effect on
Monday, April 20, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

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