Question: Several employees have informed us that they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Do they still have to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart at work?
Answer: Yes, if any orders or regulations issued by local, state, or federal authorities still impose workplace restrictions. Vaccination greatly reduces the likelihood that an individual will get sick, but outbreaks of COVID-19 (coronavirus) can still occur at work even if all employees are vaccinated. All employees should continue to wear masks and maintain physical distance from each other (in general, at least 6 feet apart) until the public health guidance changes. In an effort to clarify the current status of workplace restrictions and correct widespread misinformation about vaccines, the Washington Department of Health (WDOH) has issued COVID-19 vaccination FAQs for employers in non-healthcare settings. These FAQs are helpful to employers in any jurisdiction and serve as a useful tool for communicating with workers. WDOH makes it clear that you should continue enforcing workplace restrictions such as masking and distancing, even after employees are vaccinated. You should also continue screening workers and sending them home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. For more information, see the recently updated CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to COVID-19 and the Washington DOH Checklist for Businesses with Suspected or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19. You may also visit Vigilant’s COVID-19 Resources page or contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney for assistance. We will continue to update our members as COVID-19 workplace restrictions are modified, issued, or lifted in the states where we operate.