Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) has issued a new Public Health Order, effective August 19, 2021 through September 16, 2021. The new order requires individuals to wear face masks indoors, employers to develop a policy providing and requiring face masks, and organizations to post a sign mandating face masks indoors.

To address the rise in positive COVID cases, individuals age two years and older must wear face masks when in an enclosed space in Dane County with people outside their household, including while using public transportation. PHMDC defines a face covering as:

a piece of cloth or other material that is worn to cover the nose and mouth completely. A face covering must be secured to the head with ties, ear loops, or elastic bands that go behind the head and must fit snuggly but comfortably against the side of the face. Cloth face coverings must be made with two or more layers of breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source). A face covering does not include bandanas, single layer neck gaiters, face shields, goggles, scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, shirt or sweater collars pulled up over the mouth and nose, or masks with slits, exhalation valves, or punctures. 

Limited exceptions to the mask requirement are allowed when an individual is eating and drinking, undergoing a service requires temporary removal of the mask (e.g. dental services), communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing and who cannot communicate with a mask, swimming, following safety or security guidelines that require removal of the mask, and other similar circumstances. In addition, individuals with medical or mental health conditions that prevent them from wearing face masks are exempt from the requirement. When addressing such exemptions, employers should put in place other safety precautions to protect the health and safety of employees, customers, and other members of the public .

Employers must develop a written protective measure policy and procedure that provides employees with face masks and requires face masks indoors to comply with the order.

Employers must also post in visible locations signs requiring masks indoors. Employers may use PHMDC’s sign or develop their own.

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 info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.