On February 14, 2022, Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) announced that it will no longer require face coverings in public indoor spaces after 12:00 a.m. on March 1, 2022. PHMDC’s decision to let the current mask mandate expire reflects the fact that COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations have been steadily decreasing in Dane County over the past month. Dane County employers should keep in mind:
- PHMDC encourages individuals to stay up to date on vaccines as an effective means of protecting against severe illness from COVID-19.
- The expiration of Dane County’s mask mandate does not affect the continuing federal requirement that individuals wear face coverings on public transportation including airplanes, buses and school buses, trains, taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts.
- The expiration of the mask mandate does not negate current CDC guidance on isolation and quarantine, which may include masking recommendations following a positive test or close contact.
- After Dane County’s mask mandate expires, employers may choose to adopt and enforce their own masking rules in the workplace. As with any work rule, an employer may discipline employees for failure to comply as long as it applies the rule consistently and provides legally required accommodations.
- Regardless of how employers proceed after March 1, keep in mind that employees may have varied reactions to the expiration of the Dane County mask mandate. Some may be relieved and ready to shed their masks, but others may be anxious or fearful about continued risks of COVID-19 transmission. Encourage your team to be respectful and understanding as we transition to another “new normal.”
Lake Effect is here to answer your questions about how local and state public health orders apply to employers. We continue to monitor important legal and HR developments, as well as COVID-related updates from federal, state, and local authorities. Please keep watching our blogs and emails for these important updates, as well as discussions of how compliance meets culture. To dive into these issues, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-844-333-5253.