Governors from several states have issued executive orders stipulating that people must wear face masks when they are in public places.
This news is in addition to social distancing and self-isolation policies that have been implemented by local, state and federal bodies and governments across America.
While certain details may be left to interpretation, it is clear that penalties will be enforced against those who violate these new policies.
From a legal perspective, there is a lot to unpack. One law firm, Littler, whose practice spans the globe, has started to interpret how these policies will be applied and enforced.
Alka Ramchandani-Raj and Devjani H. Mishra mention in their legal blog that "New York specifically requires employers to provide employees in essential, customer-facing roles with face coverings at the employer’s expense. Other jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles, do not specify who should provide or pay for face coverings."
"States and localities are imposing a variety of penalties for non-compliance, and local police are generally tasked with enforcement. In New Jersey, non-compliance will be prosecuted as disorderly conduct. In the City of Los Angeles, failure to comply constitutes a misdemeanor subject to fines and/or imprisonment. In New York, fines and penalties may be imposed for violation of the Public Health Law."
If liability will be on employers, it's essential that companies and organizations have a plan and obtain supply of face masks for their teams.