While it feels like the world is opening up again, the pandemic isn’t over quite yet. We can still expect to see mask mandates come and go as community transmission levels change over time. As a business owner it is important to continue to keep track of local and national guidelines to keep your customers and employees safe.

Why Continue Masking?

Although vaccinations have proven to be successful in greatly decreasing hospitalization and deaths due to COVID-19, we’re not yet risk-free. Many communities are still at high risk, including the elderly, people who are immunocompromised, and people with disabilities. The rest of the population, though less likely to have a medically significant case of COVID, can still be negatively impacted by missing work or other events due to illness. 

All of this contributes to why some businesses may continue to request staff and customers to wear masks while on the premises, even if a mask mandate is not in effect.

Individual Precautions

As of April, 2022, the current CDC guidelines do not require masking at any level of transmission for community-level prevention strategies, but instead makes it an individual precaution. At any level of transmission, people can wear masks to protect themselves from COVID. It is also recommended that people with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.

Quarantine recommendations vary based on vaccination status but anyone who is positive for COVID should isolate and stay home for at least 5 days, wear a well-fitting mask if they must be around others in their home, and do not travel. Businesses should continue to allow employees to work from home or allow sick time for employees with a positive case of COVID.

What Should I Do As A Business Owner?

Continuing to navigate COVID as a business owner can be daunting, but staying up to date on transmission rates, local, and national regulations is key. Here are our best tips for businesses right now:

  • Stay up to date with local data. You can find detailed information for the state and parishes on the Louisiana Department of Health website. Pay attention to rising infection rates and consider how that may impact your customers and employees.
  • Continue compliance with city-wide requirements. New Orleans’ NOLA Ready website has a page dedicated to current restrictions and requirements.
  • Pay attention to CDC guidelines. While you won’t get direct information about what is happening in your area, you can make informed decisions with their guidelines.
  • Remember, Employers are allowed to keep the rules more stringent in their office, store or worksite. Always make decisions based on what is best for you and your employees.
  • Whenever you are changing requirements, ensure that you give your employees ample notice so they are not caught off-guard. Communicate about any changes regularly, along with the reasons for the changes to keep your employees adequately informed. Most employees will be more understanding if you communicate the underlying reasons for your decisions.
  • Listen to your employees and take action to ensure that they feel valued, comfortable, and safe at work.

Transcendent Law Group provides legal counsel to startups, small businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions to help them make strategic and informed decisions. We’re also highly experienced in labor and employment law and passionate about Diversity and InclusionContact us today to learn more!