Friday, May 14, 2021

Coronavirus Update 5-14-2021: CDC ends masking and social distancing for the fully vaccinated, but what does it mean?

Yesterday, the CDC updated its Covid guidance to remove all masking and social distancing guidance for those of us who are fully vaccinated. According to the CDC—

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic, without wearing a mask or physically distancing. 
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you must keep wearing masks when around others indoors.

But what does this really mean? And, more to the point, how you know who's vaccinated and who's not so that you can permit them to remove their masks inside your business?

But what does it really mean? And, more to the point, how do you know who's vaccinated and who's not so as to allow anyone to be unmasked?

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Coronavirus Update 5-13-2021: Governor DeWine ends all Covid public health orders, and goes game show host to get more people vaccinated

Last evening, Governor DeWine held a statewide address to announce the availability of the Pfizer vaccine for Ohioans ages 12 - 15. That news was not shocking. The rest of what he had to say, however, was.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Coronavirus Update 5-12-2021: We are in the midst of a public mental-health crisis; how employers can help

Consider these statistics, courtesy of the National Institute of Mental Health, which recently examined mental health issues one year into the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • 31% of people report symptoms of anxiety or depression​
  • 13% report having started or increased substance use​
  • 26% report stress-related symptoms​
  • 11% report having serious thoughts of suicide in the past 30 days​

These grim numbers tell me that COVID-19 has created a national mental health crisis. At least some of your employees are struggling. Your challenge is what to do about it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Coronavirus Update 5-11-2021: I ❤ science

Late yesterday, the FDA announced that it has authorized Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15-year-olds. It's the best news I've heard in 14 months. We've literally been living on pins and needles, feeling like we are daily dodging viral bullets as we wait for our high-risk 12-year-old and his 14-year-old sister to be able to get vaccinated.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Coronavirus Update 5-10-2021: EEOC Commissioner wants industry-specific Covid guidelines

Last week, the EEOC held a public meeting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on civil rights in the workplace. Following up on the remarks at that meeting, EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling, speaking at a virtual summit held by the Institute for Workplace Equality, said that employers need guidance on whether their Covid-related decisions are legal, and that the EEOC should issue industry-specific guidance to clear up these ambiguities.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Happy birthday to me!

This weekend, the Ohio Employer Law Blog turns 14! 

May 9, 2007 — my first post ever here at the blog. 3,628 posts and three law firms later, happy birthday to me!

May 9 offers another reason to celebrate, Mothers' Day. I haven't seen my mom in 19 months, but with vaccines hopefully on the immediate horizon for my kids, I should be able to give my mom a sorely missed and needed hug really soon. This long-distance message will have to do until then.

Today also happens to be my mom's birthday, so everyone please wish her a happy one!

Next week, more legal stuff, starting with some good, and not-so-good, news from the EEOC.

* Photo by Marty Southwell on Unsplash

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Coronavirus Update 5-6-2021: Do your employees have “Covid anxiety syndrome”?

The Telegraph recently tweeted about what is being called "Covid anxiety syndrome." The whole thread is a fascinating read, but its bottom line is that some people are reacting irrationally by continuing extreme Covid mitigation measures when they are no longer needed.

The Guardian quotes professor Marcantonio Spada London South Bank University, who first theorized this syndrome after noticing people were developing a particular set of traits in response to Covid.
Fear is normal. You and I are supposed to fear the virus because it's dangerous. The difference, however, in terms of developing a psychopathological response is whether you end up behaving in … overly safe ways that lock you into the fear. My expectation is we're going to have … chunks of the population that are avoiding re-engagement and constantly worrying about the virus for months to come, whether they are vaccinated or not.

So here's my question for you — do you have employees experiencing such behavior? Continuing to insist on remote work even after being fully vaccinated? Wearing a mask all of the time, even when alone in an office? Insisting on constantly wiping down surfaces as if they are disinfecting a crime scene?