[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.
Filed Under: Coronavirus, Safety
  • Julie Elizabeth Overton

    The owner of the Shell station in Woodbury refuses to comply with the executive order, that went into effect on April 20, 2020, requiring that “all grocery and other retail employees interacting with public wear a mask.” I asked someone I know in town government how to file a complaint and was advised to bring it to the attention of the local police. I spoke with officer Rockhill who defensively told me there was nothing he could do about it but after a little back and forth he agreed to talk with owner, who also happens to be a friend of his. I have stopped patronizing this gas station/convenient store but that still does not change the fact that the people who continue to shop there also shop at the few local essential businesses that I do; when I went to Shell to photograph a “maskless” clerk one of our mail carriers was making a purchase at the counter. What recourse is there against businesses who refuse to comply? If none then what good is an executive order? I also own a small business in town and have had to close because of the Governors orders which has caused extreme financial hardship. But I take this very seriously and want to help curtail the virus as best I can. The entire point of allowing “essential businesses” to remain open is to reduce human contact but still allow people access to what they need to survive. If these businesses are acting recklessly than why should they be allowed to remain open?

    • FukemAll

      You tell em! My screen name may hint how u can handle it