Wednesday, October 21st, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC has updated its definition of “close contact” with a person identified as testing positive for COVID-19. Prior, “close contact” was a person who spent at least 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of a confirmed case, now the guideline has expanded for someone who has spent a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period, within six feet of an infected person.
This change comes in response to covid cases increasing in nearly 75 percent of the country. These new regulations will assist health departments and contract tracing to help track the virus. Schools, workplaces, and other group settings where people are in contact with others for long periods of time will see the greatest changes in their reporting. This may or may not affect your business’s contracting policy or practice, so refer to the CDC here for more information.
These changes only bring light to the importance of wearing a mask, and social distancing, especially as we enter into the fall and winter cold season. As a reminder for those of you who have returned to in-person work, the following guidelines are in order by state. Guidelines may vary slightly by jurisdiction, read more here and here.
Temperature Screenings: Are required for all high-risk businesses, and recommended for all others.
Mask: All employers must provide employees with face coverings to wear while working in areas open to the general public and areas where the staff is likely to come within 6 feet of other people. All individuals over the age of 11 must wear a face-covering in specified public spaces, and businesses may decline entry to those who refuse to wear one (unless the business is providing medical supplies, food, or other specified exceptions). Employees of personal care services, where the customer must remove their mask, are required to wear a face shield in addition to their masks.
Other: Health screening questionnaires are required for all high risk, and recommended for all others.
Temperature Screenings: Are required for all those working in agriculture, restaurant or other food/beverage establishments, as well as gyms, fitness centers, and
high-touch amusement and recreation areas.
Mask: Employers must provide at their expense gloves and face coverings for employees. All individuals must wear a face-covering in both indoor and outdoor spaces accessible to the public. Customers of essential and retail businesses must wear a face mask to enter the business and may be declined entry if they are not. Further, employees must wear gloves when in contact with customer goods. Face masks are also required for workers and visitors on construction sights, and NJ Transit and private transit companies.
Other: Agricultural workers are to screen workers for symptoms before every shift. For restaurants and other food/beverage establishments, daily health checks are required. For gyms fitness centers and other high-touch recreation and amusement centers, the facility shall conduct a health questionnaire of staff and clients.
Temperature Screenings: Not currently required.
Mask: Employees who are permitted to maintain in-person operations must provide face masks for employees to wear, and mandate they wear them at all times on the worksite (except during meal breaks). Businesses (other than health care providers), may deny entry to people not wearing a mask unless the business is providing food, medical supplies, or other specified exceptions. Customers who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, or under the age of 2 are permitted entry without documentation.
Other: All businesses conducting in-person work must screen employees for symptoms before entering.