Nevada Governor Steven Sisolak announced that, effective 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2020, face coverings will now be required in public. In announcing this new requirement, Governor Sisolak lamented that Nevada is experiencing an increasing trend in its cumulative test positivity rate and hospitalizations since May 31. To combat these increases, the governor’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Team advised that “a mouth-and-nose lockdown is far more sustainable than a full-body lockdown.” What do employers need to know in order to ensure compliance with Governor Sisolak’s Declaration of Emergency Directive 024?
Face Covering Requirement
Generally, all persons residing in or visiting Nevada must now wear face coverings when they are in a public space, whether publicly owned or privately owned where the public has access by right or invitation. All businesses operating shall ensure that all patrons, customers, patients, or clients utilize face coverings, and shall prohibit persons without face coverings from entering the premises.
The governor has directed NV OSHA, as well as state licensing boards, to enforce all provisions of this Directive against any licensees and establishments who violate the directive. Likewise, individuals who violate the directive may be subject to criminal penalties.
Nevada expressly exempts certain activities and persons from the face-covering requirement, including:
Some of these exempted individuals may be, alternatively, required to wear a non-restrictive alternative like a face shield.
What Does This Mean For Employers?
Nevada employers would be well-advised to ensure their workforce understands the different types of masks and the right way to wear them. The CDC has provided guidance on cloth face coverings.
You must ensure your workers covered by this requirement are wearing face coverings while at work. Of course, if employees are required to wear face coverings, employers must either provide face coverings or reimburse employees who purchase face coverings for use at work.
You should also take reasonable steps to prohibit any member of the public who is not wearing a face covering from entering. This could include posting a sign to remind customers and the public of the requirement to wear a face covering while waiting inside or waiting in line to enter.
Practically speaking, you may also consider mandating and enforcing a requirement that all individuals wear a face covering whenever they are not alone in a closed room on company property. This could make it easier to spot those who are not complying and need to be addressed or removed. However, you must be mindful of situations requiring accommodations for disabilities, religious reasons, or one of the express exemptions under Nevada’s directive. You must also keep in mind that cloth face coverings do not replace the need for social distancing, handwashing, and compliance with other CDC and local guidance.