It’s the return of the mack, err, masks.

You can take the boy of the ’90s, but

It’s been a minute — actually, about a month and a half — since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 mask guidance. The last update essentially guided most people to wear a mask based on personal preference because the rate of COVID-19 transmission was declining fast.

So, states and cities followed suit with their mask guidance.

Except, new virus cases have increased recently in about half of all states and territories, according to the New York Times, particularly in the Northeast, where the BA.2 subvariant is widespread. So, some have responded by requiring the use of masks indoors in public.

With a case increase of more than 50% over the past week, the City of Philadelphia announced yesterday that locals must wear masks indoors in public places beginning Monday, April 18. This requirement includes schools, businesses, museums, restaurants, offices, and government buildings. Businesses and institutions can go mask-free if they require everyone on-site to be fully vaccinated and check vaccine status upon entry.

Philadelphia’s rationale is that implementing the mask mandate sooner will keep positive cases lower, place less strain on local health systems and protect its most vulnerable residents.

Philadelphia’s mask mandate is tied to the City’s COVID Response Levels. Once the City meets two of the three metrics in the All-Clear Level, the Health Department will drop the mask mandate again.

Meanwhile, Sarah-Ruiz Grossman reporting here at The Huffington Post, notes that some U.S. universities are also reinstituting mask requirements.

Depending on where your company operates, your mileage may vary. So, pay attention to local requirements. Most of you are free to have a mask requirement (or not). At the very least, you shouldn’t prevent or discourage people from wearing masks.

Apart from air travel and other forms of public transportation where wearing a mask may be a requirement, how many of you wear or know someone who wears a facemask regularly in public?

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