Yesterday, Governor Abbott issued an executive order stating in part that the statewide mask mandate will be lifted on March 10, 2021.
The lifting of the mask mandate conflicts with recent OSHA guidance on COVID-19. That guidance, issued in late January, stresses mask usage as part of an employer’s strategy to minimize COVID in the workplace. Many items contained in the guidance are expected to be contained in OSHA’s emergency standard on COVID-19, which may be issued as soon as later this month. In fact, under the guidance, employers are to provide employees with masks free of charge.
As a result, we caution employers from lifting mask requirements in the workplace, at least until we get a better sense from OSHA as to whether mask usage in the workplace is required. Indeed, Governor Abbott’s executive order permits businesses to require employees to wear masks.
Stay safe and keep the course. And please let us know if we can help.