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To Mask, or Not to Mask, That is the Question

May 19 | 2021  by

The State of Michigan is finally taking steps to bring itself in line with face mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On May 13, 2021, the CDC indicated that “fully vaccinated” people “no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.” At that time, orders from both the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) required face masks regardless of vaccine status.

The MDHHS caught up with the CDC on May 15, 2021, issuing a new Gathering and Face Mask Order that exempts fully vaccinated persons from the general face mask requirement. MIOSHA, however, has not updated its emergency order, which includes mask requirements. MIOSHA’s trailing pace results in a strange ambiguity and conflict between the current health department and workplace safety requirements.  

The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, however, has said that, until the workplace safety rules are updated, “MIOSHA will consider compliance with the MDHHS order as good faith to comply when responding to employee complaints or conducting investigations related to COVID-19.” This should signal comfort to employers and employees who want to ditch the masks and get back to normal.

For the past year and a half, Fausone & Grysko, PLC has been on top of Michigan’s ever-changing face mask requirements for businesses and employers. Our experienced business law team will keep you updated on this topic as it develops. If you have questions about implementing COVID-19 policies and best practices in your workplace, contact Business and HR attorney Brandon Grysko to discuss how our premier law firm can guide you through these legal issues.

EDIT: Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced updates to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) emergency rules. Under an amended set of emergency rules, MIOSHA will remove the requirement that employers create a “Policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.” MIOSHA has also updated other aspects of the emergency rules to reflect recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), which will take effect May 24 and expire on October 14.