To Mask or Not to Mask? Compliance and Med Spa Mask Policies

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Thursday, May 20, 2021

Woman wearing an N95 mask dons gloves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines updated May 16, "fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance." People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second dose of a two-dose series or two weeks after they have received their single-dose vaccine. Indoor and outdoor activities pose minimal risk for fully vaccinated people and they have a reduced risk of transmitting COVID-19 to unvaccinated people. As of May 19, 37.8% of the U.S. has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Recommendations for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health care personnel (HCP) remain unchanged. Practices are to continue the routine infection prevention and control (IPC) practices they have implemented since the start of the pandemic, and health care personnel are expected to wear well-fitting facemasks at all times when they are in the health care facility or when meeting with a patient.

How Does This Affect Your Practice?

The updated mask guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals "are not intended for healthcare settings," per the CDC announcement. "This means that staff, patients, residents and visitors should continue to wear masks as recommended in all healthcare facilities," according to a statement released via email to the American Hospital Association.

As stated in our previous blog about masks, your medical spa practice has a duty to exercise reasonable care toward others and to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards. As a measure to reduce transmission of the virus, masks may be considered part of the current standard of care. You should continue to provide the proper PPE to your health care personnel and check with your state health departments, medical boards and local orders to learn the rules that apply to you.

Businesses can still choose to require facemasks be worn by individuals who enter the premises, regardless of leniency in federal or state laws for fully vaccinated individuals. The CDC guidance does not mean that you have to do away with masks; there are a number of good reasons to continue to use them even if you aren't directly required to. Consider the vaccination rate and virus prevalence in your area when making policy decisions.

CDC guidance may provide some considerations on the side of "optional masks," for patients but it isn't binding on anyone. Although the guidance may be taken into consideration, your practice needs to continue to comply with local rules. State rules still apply, and businesses can still set their own rules as well. It will really come down to each medical spa's situation and local sentiments on what the best plan is.

Continue to follow the guidelines for health care facilities, to stay up to date with the latest compliance concerns. We will release new information as it becomes available.

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