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Masks and Gloves

Note: Employees of the LCB, Attorney General, PGCB, Auditor General and all other agencies not under the Governor's jurisdiction should contact their local HR office for assistance.  

Please note the following guidance may differ for 24/7 operations including correctional facilities, state hospitals and centers, veterans’ homes, and youth development centers, as well as those agencies following CISA’s guidance for critical infrastructure workers. Employees within such operations should continue to follow the guidance issued by their agency.  

In cases where a provision of an approved labor agreement or side letter cannot be reconciled with this policy, the labor agreement or side letter will control.

Page last updated May 8 - 12:30 p.m.

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​Am I required to wear a mask while at work and why? 

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Yes. Under order of the Secretary of the Department of Health, all employees and visitors at worksites are required to wear masks to reduce the potential for exposure to COVID-19.  

You should put on a mask prior to entering the worksite and wear it during any screenings. 

​Am I required to provide my own mask, or will one be provided to me? 

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​The commonwealth will provide you with the appropriate mask based on your work environment.  You have the option to wear your own mask, provided it meets the CDC guidelines and is appropriate for the worksite.

​What are my options if I have a medical condition (allergy, asthma, etc.) that prevents me from wearing wear a mask? 

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​If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, contact your supervisor prior to returning to the worksite to discuss other personal protective equipment, such as face shields. 

​Do I need to apply for an ADA accommodation if I am unable to wear a mask? 

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​If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you should notify your supervisor to discuss other options. 

​What are the procedures for using a mask? 

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​Procedures for using a mask are available in the Returning to Work Guide for Employees

​Am I responsible to clean my mask?  If so how and how often? 

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​Procedures for using a mask are available in the Returning to Work Guide for Employees

If I refuse to wear a mask or practice proper social distancing, can I be sent home and required to use my own leave?  Will I be subject to any discipline?

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Masks are required under order of the Secretary of the Department of Health to the protect your safety and the safety of others. Refusing to wear a mask puts you and your coworkers at greater risk for exposure to COVID-19. 

To ensure workplace health and safety, you may be subject to corrective action up to and including removal from employment for refusing to wear a mask at work. 

​How do I make a mask?

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​Instructions for making a mask are available in the Returning to Work Guide for Employees.

​Do I have to wear a mask if I work outdoors or have heavy physical activity as part of my job description? 

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​Yes. However, you do not need to wear a mask if it impedes your vision, if you have a medical condition, or if it would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.

​Do I have to wear a mask when I have my own personal office? 

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​Employees isolated in their personal office space, when unshared with anyone, do not need to wear a mask. However, when the employee leaves their individual office or has invited anyone into their office, they must wear a mask. Additionally, a mask is not required while eating or drinking, but social distancing techniques should be applied. 

​Why am I not being provided with gloves? 

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Gloves will only be provided to employees who require them to perform certain job functions; such as handling mail, custodial work, certain trades, and groundskeeping.  For most employees, gloves are not recommended for general protective use for the following reasons:   
  • Gloves provide no protection, and touching your face with contaminated hands, whether gloved or not, poses a significant risk of infection.  
  • Gloves often create a false sense of security for the individuals wearing them; people are more likely to touch contaminated surfaces because they feel they are protected from the virus when they are not.   
  • When wearing gloves, people are less inclined to wash their hands; this is counterproductive and puts others at higher risk. Handwashing is the number-one defense against any virus.  
In addition, proper removal of gloves takes training. If contaminated gloves are not removed properly, employees are exposed to greater risk.  

​Can I wear gloves if I bring my own?  

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​Only employees who open mail or used gloves prior to COVID-19 will be permitted to wear gloves.  If you do not fall into either of these categories, you will not be allowed to wear gloves at the worksite because the risk of contamination is actually increased.