[Update: DECD issued new guidance April 21 clarifying the April 17 rule governing masks and face coverings. Employees can remove masks when alone in segregated spaces such as private offices or cubicles; when on break time to eat or drink; and in outdoor work spaces where employees do not regularly come within six feet of others.]

The state Department of Economic and Community Development made significant revisions April 17 to mandatory rules governing workplace safety during the pandemic.

The revised mandatory rules cover every workplace in Connecticut deemed essential—and any other business or nonprofit allowed to remain open.

Beginning 8 pm Monday, April 20, all employees must wear a face mask or face cloth covering at all times in the workplace.

Employers are required to issue masks or cloth face coverings to employees.

If that is not possible because of shortages or supply chain difficulties, employers must provide materials—or compensate the cost—for employees to make their own and share the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for making cloth face coverings.

DECD issued the revised rules after Gov. Lamont signed an executive order April 17 requiring any person in a public place to wear a mask or cloth face covering if "unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person."

That order also takes effect from 8 pm April 20.

Medical Exemption

Workplace masks or face coverings are not required if wearing one compromises the health or safety of an employee because of a medical condition.

An employee is not required to produce medical documentation in such a case. 

Customers must also wear cloth face coverings while on premises.

Any person in a public place must wear a mask or cloth face covering if "unable to maintain a safe social distance."

Businesses may provide face coverings to customers and visitors.

The medical exemption also applies for customers, with additional guidance for children.

The state also revised its rules for Connecticut retail stores, and now requires masks or face coverings for employees and customers.

Additional Revisions

In addition to the face covering order, DECD's revised safe workplace rules include the following:

  • Require that all employees that do not speak English as their first language are aware of the rules by sharing either orally or in writing, in their native or preferred language.
  • Discourage in-person meetings, which should should be limited to a maximum of 10 people, with all attendees wearing a mask or face covering and maintaining at least six feet separation.
  • Require soap and water or within available supplies, hand sanitizer at point of entry to facilities.