Author: Laura Friedel
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control updated its isolation and quarantine guidance to reduce the duration of isolation/quarantine and to differentiate based on whether someone has received a booster. The key takeaways from the updated CDC Guidance are:
- Isolation period for those who test positive is reduced to 5 days (previously 10 days).
- Those who are exposed to COVID who have been fully vaccinated and boosted, or who received their second dose of Pfizer/Moderna within the last 6 months (or single dose of J&J within the last 2 months) don’t need to quarantine, but do need to wear a mask for 10 days and test on day 5 if possible.
- Those who are exposed to COVID who haven’t been fully vaccinated and boosted and who received their second dose of Pfizer/Moderna more than 6 months ago (or single dose of J&J more than 2 months ago) need to quarantine for 5 days and wear a mask for an additional 5 days, and test on day 5 if possible.
While these new standards will be welcomed by some, employers continue to face uncertainty around the OSHA vaccine or test mandate. The stay on the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) was lifted, so the mandate is set to go into effect on January 4th (though OSHA has said it won’t issue citations of the testing requirements before February 9th or for the other requirements before January 10th). However, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the ETS on January 7th, so its future remains uncertain.
Given these recent developments, we recommend that employers take the following steps:
- Update COVID policies to reflect the new CDC standards on quarantine and isolation.
- Prepare to meet the OSHA ETS requirements in the event that they are upheld, by doing the following:
- Deciding whether, if the ETS is upheld, the company will allow all employees the option to test weekly or will only provide that option as an accommodation
- Confirming vaccination status of employees
- Determining how weekly testing will be effectuated
- Advise employees that the company is continuing to monitor the OSHA ETS, and if it is implemented will be complying with it.
If you have any questions regarding OSHA COVID requirements or other COVID-related issues, a member of our Labor & Employment Group would be happy to speak with you.