We’ve received a number of calls and emails regarding the use of face masks for back-of-house employees! Many of you have expressed concern with the hot temperatures -- and we’ve even had reports of employees passing out. We’ve reached out to the state multiple times requesting updated guidelines for masks, and have yet to receive them. However, we have been told by several officials that we can give some basic advice.
First, the current public health order specifically says this about masks for employees: Employees without face coverings shall not perform tasks that require engagement with the public or with other coworkers.
However, it is important to make sure you are not posing a health risk to employees from the use of masks. If back-of-house employees complain about difficulty breathing or the extreme heat, please allow them to take breaks, and you may allow them to remove their masks. You should do whatever you can to ensure that proper social distancing is adhered to, at least to the best extent possible to be in compliance.
No public official that we have spoken to is OK with back-of-house employees passing out or becoming overheated – they are asking you to comply to the best of your ability. It will be especially important for those that have small kitchen spaces, where social distancing is difficult, to be diligent about daily employee wellness and exposure check-ins.
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