Why: The latest Back to Office analysis from Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. highlights recent trends in state law requirements related to mask mandates, vaccine passports, and employer liability.
Mask Mandate: As of July 8, 2021, of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories, 20 jurisdictions have some form of mask mandate in place, while 36 jurisdictions have no mask mandates, either because no mandate was imposed, or because a mandate was lifted or allowed to expire. Guam plans to remove its mask mandate on July 21.
Vaccine Passport: In addition, as of July 8, 2021, only three jurisdictions—Hawaii, Louisiana, and New York—have implemented a COVID-19 vaccine passport, while 19 jurisdictions have banned all or some proof of vaccination requirements. Nine states have enacted legislation prohibiting proof of vaccination, while the other ten states have banned proof of vaccination through executive order, with most of the prohibitions applying only to government agencies. However, there are broader prohibitions in Texas and Florida, where private businesses are barred from requiring proof of vaccination.
Employer Liability: As of July 2021, 39 U.S. jurisdictions have enacted legislation or issued an executive order imposing some limitations on liability for COVID-19 transmission. Perhaps the most common feature of these laws is to provide a shield against liability for ordinary negligence and require that a plaintiff show gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
Cathleen Calhoun, J.D., is a health law legal analyst at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. with areas of expertise in health care compliance, Medicare benefits and coverage, health care reimbursement and more. Cathleen can give insight on the importance of keeping track of state law requirements and ways to keep employees safe, healthy and comfortable when returning back to office.
Pamela Wolf, J.D., is a senior employment legal analyst at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. who tracks and analyzes employment issues including White House and federal agency developments, federal regulations, court decisions, state and federal legislation, and labor and employment trends. Pamela can discuss the important steps and questions employers should consider when it comes to developing back to office COVID-19 policies and protocols for their employees.
Quote: "Mask mandates are in decline and the trend appears likely to continue."— Cathleen Calhoun, Legal Analyst.
"With the increasing spread of the Delta variant, employers should carefully monitor for changes in state and local masking mandates, as these may be tied to potential liability, even in states that have coronavirus liability shields."—Pamela Wolf, Sr. Legal Analyst
"As workplaces across the nation continue to reopen, it's very important that employers, especially those with multistate operations, understand state and local laws when developing and implementing COVID-19 policies and protocols, particularly as to vaccination requirements in the employment setting." —Pamela Wolf, Sr. Legal Analyst
Contact: To arrange an interview with Cathleen Calhoun or Pamela Wolf on Back to Office trends or other legal experts from Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, U.S. on this or any other legal related topics please contact Linda Gharib at [email protected] .
About Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the healthcare; tax and accounting; governance, risk and compliance; and legal and regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with technology and services.
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