On Monday, MIOSHA published revised Emergency Rules which are effective May 24, 2021 through October 14, 2021, unless sooner modified or rescinded. MDHHS also published a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order which is effective June 1, 2021 through July 1, 2021.
While some of the rules and orders provide certain exceptions to the face covering requirement for fully vaccinated individuals, the MIOSHA emergency rules continue to require all individuals in healthcare settings (including patients, health care professionals and staff who are fully vaccinated) to wear face coverings where patients may be present. Even where patients are not present, under the MIOSHA emergency rules, employers must require employees who are not fully vaccinated to wear face coverings when the employees cannot consistently maintain 6 feet of separation.
In addition, the CDC guidelines provide that fully vaccinated healthcare personnel may dine, socialize in breakrooms, and conduct in-person meetings without the use of “source control” (e.g., face masks) or social distancing. However, the CDC recommends that all healthcare personnel should wear source control if unvaccinated healthcare personnel are present, and unvaccinated healthcare personnel should physically distance from others.
Taken together, effective June 1, 2021, medical practices can adopt the following face covering policies for staff members:
- Face coverings are required for all staff, regardless of vaccination status, where patients may be present;
- If patients are not present, face coverings are required for staff members who are not fully vaccinated when such staff members cannot consistently maintain 6 feet of separation from other individuals indoors in the workplace;
- If patients are not present, face coverings are recommended, but not required for fully vaccinated staff when unvaccinated staff are present and cannot consistently maintain 6 feet of separation from fully vaccinated staff indoors in the workplace;
- Note that although this policy is not required by MIOSHA’s emergency rules, as discussed above, CDC guidelines recommend that fully vaccinated healthcare staff members wear source control when unvaccinated healthcare staff are present.
- Face coverings are not required for fully vaccinated staff when patients and unvaccinated staff are not present.
Note that it is unknown whether the MIOSHA emergency rules will be further amended or modified after the MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order is lifted on July 1, 2021.