On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance recommending that even fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks in public indoor environments to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19, especially in areas experiencing substantial or high transmission rates.

While the CDC maintains that infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant, evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others. In addition to addressing the wearing of masks, the updated guidance also revises testing and quarantine guidelines.

This reverses the previously issued guidance from early May which stated that vaccinated individuals can resume participation in many of the activities they did before the pandemic and forego mask wearing in essentially all settings, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) incorporated into their guidance on June 10. Currently,

OSHA is evaluating the most recent CDC guidance and monitoring the COVID-19 situation before making a determination as to if, or when, they will make any revisions to their guidance.

Since OSHA has yet to incorporate the July 27 updated guidance, we recommend employers monitor and implement the policies adopted by state and local governments across the country.