Covid surge, CDC reversal upends back-to-office plans

Unions position themselves to protect workers and slow down “return to normal”

National /
Jul.July 28, 2021 02:00 PM
The Delta variant and the CDC’s recent mask reversal is adding a new element of intrigue to return-to-work policies. (iStock)

The Delta variant and the CDC’s recent mask reversal is adding a new element of intrigue to return-to-work policies. (iStock)

As the Delta variant fuels a nationwide surge in Covid cases, employers’ return-to-work plans are being thrown into a state of flux.

This week, the CDC updated its public health recommendations, imploring the fully vaccinated to resume wearing masks indoors in “substantial or high-transmission” areas — classifications that currently cover more than 60 percent of U.S. counties.

Office tenants are now preparing to deal with the fallout, according to the New York Times.

Many employers had been pushing for a return to in-person work as Covid cases declined through May and June, with September and post-Labor Day emerging as popular deadlines.

Some companies, like Apple, are already beginning to postpone those plans.

Tension appears to be rising between workers and employers, prompting unions to get involved. Some are beginning to call for either more safety protocols or pushing back on vaccine requirements, the common goal being to slow down a “return to normal.”

Plenty of companies were allowing vaccinated staffers to return to the office without masks, but the CDC’s reversal is now causing confusion. Many employees had already been revolting against return-to-office edicts even before the nationwide rise in Covid cases.

The CDC is now recommending that masks be worn indoors by all people in areas with substantial or high infection rates, which is more than 2,000 U.S. counties, including all of Florida. That state alone accounts for approximately 20 percent of all new Covid cases in the country.

[NYT] — Holden Walter-Warner





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