Here’s some good news for employers trying to get back to normal — more states have begun dropping mask mandates, and experts are cautiously optimistic we’re approaching “normalcy.”
Some states that have ended their mask mandates (or will very soon) include:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Oregon, and
- Rhode Island.
Some of these states plan to end mask mandates in schools, too, if case numbers and hospitalizations continue to decrease.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for — tremendous progress after two long years,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said. “This is trending in a very, very good direction, and that is why we’re now approaching a new phase in the pandemic.”
Experts continue to disagree
However, while a lot of states are optimistic, the CDC is still warning Americans to be cautious.
“We continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.
Walensky pointed out that most of the country currently falls under this umbrella, and despite improvement in numbers, there are still almost 250,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the United States every day.
Backing up the CDC Director’s message is White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who encouraged Americans to follow the CDC’s mask guidance, even if their states dropped the mask mandate.
Other health experts are concerned with states rolling back mask mandates too soon, saying the decisions don’t align with the science. Instead, experts are worried these states’ decisions are simply based on politics and citizens getting tired of masking.
Masks at work
Communication is key, Mingione says. If numbers are bad in your area, show that data to your employees to explain why you’re still requiring masks.
It can also help to focus on the positives, like higher levels of trust and safety in the workplace.