Are your employees/customers required to wear masks?
By Peg Ritenour, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Legal Services
As brokerages and local Boards plan to re-open their offices, it is important to establish policies that comply with the Governor’s Responsible RestartOhio program. One of the areas that must be addressed in your policy is whether your employees and others entering your office are required to wear protective masks or face coverings at all times. In the Governor’s press conference yesterday, further clarification was provided on this issue by Lt. Governor Jon Husted. Here is a summary of what was announced:
Customers visiting an Ohio business should wear a face covering, but aren’t required to do so. However, businesses may adopt a policy requiring that their customers wear a face covering. Therefore, for the safety of its employees and agents, a brokerage could adopt a policy requiring that a face covering be worn by any buyers, sellers, prospective tenants, etc. entering its offices.
Employers and employees are required to wear face coverings while on the job. However, certain exceptions were announced by Lt. Governor Husted. They are:
- An employee in a particular position is prohibited by a law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job
- Wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practices
- Wearing a face covering is not advisable for health purposes
- If wearing a face covering is a violation of a company’s safety policies
- An employee is sitting alone in an enclosed workspace
- There is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn by an employee
If any of these exceptions apply, the business must be able to provide written justification upon request.
The exception that will be the most likely to apply to a brokerage or local Board office is when staff members are alone in their enclosed, private office. However, when these employees leave their office or others enter their office, a face covering will be required.
While the clarification provided does not specifically address independent contractors, such as agents, brokerages can follow the guidance outlined above when agents are in the brokerage office.
CLICK HERE for the full list of requirements that apply to offices.