Nevada Adopts Updated CDC Guidance For The Fully Vaccinated

Volume: 20 | Issue: 31
May 14, 2021

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in most indoor and outdoor locations, except where required by federal, state, or local laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. As you know, Emergency Directive 45 recently aligned Nevada’s face covering mandate with the latest guidance from the CDC. Accordingly, the Governor has announced that the updated guidance on masks issued by the CDC is effective immediately in Nevada.

Following the CDC’s announcement yesterday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued a notice. The Board explained that while “Emergency Directive 045 originally pertained to wearing masks outdoors, while retaining a mask requirement for all indoor gaming floor areas of gaming properties,” the updated CDC guidance has changed the Board’s requirements. Licensees should now post signage with the latest CDC mask guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests but are not required to confirm patron vaccination status. Further, the Board will not “attempt to enforce a mask mandate tethered to an individual’s vaccination status.” While licensees can have mask policies that are more restrictive than the CDC guidance, those policies “are not Board policies.”

Both the State of Nevada and the Gaming Control Board have clearly stated that businesses are not required to confirm the vaccination status of the general public. As such, employers can now decide whether they will continue to require face coverings for the general public or whether they will remove their face covering requirement for the public.

In making this decision, an employer needs to consider its duty to protect its employees. NV OSHA has declared COVID-19 a “recognized hazard” from which all businesses have a duty to protect employees. COVID-19 remains a threat especially to the unvaccinated.

We are hopeful that NV OSHA will quickly release updated guidance for employers. In the meantime, here are some guidelines based upon what we currently know:

  • Employers still have a duty to protect employees from COVID-19, and the current change affects only the fully vaccinated. A person is not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after their second dose of a 2-dose series vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). 
  • Employers are still obligated to comply with their county’s COVID-19 mitigation plan (including social distancing requirements) and should watch for changes to that plan.
  • Employers may choose to continue with mask policies that are more restrictive than the CDC guidance.
  • Subject to any clarification from NV OSHA, employers should be able to allow employees who submit proof of vaccination to discontinue face coverings. Such documents should be maintained in a separate COVID-19 mitigation file (like a master file for I-9 forms) instead of personnel files.
  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to use face coverings.
  • Face coverings are still required for everyone while using public transportation.
  • Many individuals may continue to wear face coverings by choice for a variety of reasons. This choice should be respected.

We encourage you to review these developments carefully and thoughtfully and contact a KZA attorney to discuss any proposed changes to your COVID-19 mitigation measures.  As always, we will keep you posted of developments.    

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.

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