Why are face coverings required in the workplace?

In accordance with policy HR-47, Loudoun County employees, contractors, and volunteers are required to wear face coverings, when working in county facilities, on county property, in county vehicles with more than one occupant, or while otherwise performing work on behalf of the county under circumstances where social distancing cannot be maintained.

What is the Purpose of a Face Covering?

A cloth face covering can help prevent individuals who do not know they are carrying COVID-19 from transmitting the virus to others. The cloth is intended to catch droplets from your nose and mouth that may be projected when you talk, sneeze, cough and breathe. By limiting the potential of these droplets from landing on others and on surfaces, you can reduce the spread of the coronavirus and other germs even when you are asymptomatic.

NOTE:  It is important to understand that cloth face coverings do not prevent you from becoming infected with coronavirus. The best ways to protect yourself are practicing physical distancing, washing your hands and the other prevention measures prescribed by the CDC.

The consistent use of face coverings, in accordance with HR-47, will also demonstrate to the public the county’s commitment to adhering to public health best practices and recommendations and state mandates related to COVID-19.

Will the County Provide Face Coverings to Employees?

All county employees, contractors and volunteers will receive three county-issued cloth face coverings. Face coverings will be delivered to departments to distribute to employees. The use of face coverings does not replace the requirement for physical distancing and other prevention measures, such as washing hands and staying home when sick.

How do I Properly Wear a Face Covering? 

  • Ensure the cloth face covering fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Cover your nose and mouth, 
  • Properly secure to your head with the original ties or loop, where applicable.

When am I Required to Wear my Face Covering?

While in common areas of county buildings including, but not limited to:

  • stairwells
  • elevators
  • hallways
  • canteens
  • break rooms
  • bathrooms
  • lobbies
  • conference rooms
  • county vehicles with more than one occupant
  • or when in any space where social distancing is not possible.

When in work spaces, even if there are barriers such as cubicle walls and sneeze guards, unless there is also a distance of 6 feet or more between individuals.

Face coverings are not required for employees while working away from others in an office, cubicle (if separated by more than six feet), or other area physically separated at a minimum of six feet from other employees.  

Employees are asked to carry their face covering with them at all times so that if they encounter a situation when the cover is needed, they can put it on.

How do I Care for My Face Covering?

Employees are responsible for the proper use, care and cleaning of their face coverings. Employees must not share their county-issued cloth face coverings with any other individual, including family members.  

  • Cleaning - Reusable face coverings should be washed after each day of use with water and a mild detergent and dried completely in a hot dryer. Face coverings that are not washable should only be worn for one day and then discarded.
  • Replacement - Employees shall regularly inspect the condition of their face coverings and request replacements through their department if face coverings become damaged (i.e. holes in the material, straps broken, etc.)

Can I Wear My Personal Face Covering? 

Employees are strongly encouraged to wear county-issued cloth face coverings, which the county will make available in a variety of styles. Employees may choose to wear their own personal face covering provided it meets the following requirements

  • Meet the CDC’s guidance
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape.
  • Be clean and in good condition
  • Remain in place without being held by hands
  • Professional, and comply with county and department level dress and appearance policies and must be free from potentially inappropriate, offensive, or political language, images, and graphics.

Get instructions on how to make your own face covering.

Can I Wear my Self-Provided Respirator?

Current CDC guidance advises that medical masks and respirators be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders. Employees who are not required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (such as N95 respirators masks, medical masks, or face shields) to perform their job duties are strongly discouraged from wearing these items in the workplace or while performing official county duties.

If employees wish to wear self-provided respirators, the county strongly recommends they consult with their personal physicians to make sure they are physically able to use such respirators safely.

Disposable face masks, such as surgical and procedural masks, are intended for brief, single use purposes and should be immediately disposed of once the wearer removes the mask. 

Employees are required to properly dispose of such masks immediately after use, to include throwing the mask in a trash receptacle and then thoroughly washing their hands with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

Used disposable masks shall not be placed or disposed of anywhere on county property other than in a trash receptacle.

Show All Answers

1. Why are face coverings required in the workplace?
2. What should I do if I come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing symptoms?
3. What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and what benefits am I entitled to under this new law?
4. What are the County’s policies on the use of sick leave or telework for employees who are diagnosed with or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19?
5. Can management send an employee home if the employee comes to work sick or displaying obvious cold or flu symptoms? If so, will the employee be required to use paid accrued leave?
6. Can management require an employee to provide a doctor’s note “clearing” the employee to return to work?
7. When can I return to work if I am feeling sick?
8. What should I do if I am concerned that my co-worker may be contagious or is caring for or lives with someone who is contagious?
9. What happens if an employee is sick and does not have any accrued sick leave?
10. Can an employee telework instead of using sick leave?
11. Will an employee with the COVID-19 virus be covered by Family Medical Leave?
12. What if the employee was exposed to the COVID-19 virus at work as a result of his/her job duties? Will the employee’s exposure to illness and/or subsequent illness be covered by Workers’ Compensation?
13. What if an employee needs time off to care for a sick relative with the COVID-19 virus?
14. What accommodations or assistance will be given to employees with child care issues due to a COVID-19 related school closure?
15. I am signed up to go to a conference and I’ve already made travel plans. Since the County has cancelled non-essential travel, what should I do?
16. Does our County medical insurance plan offer any options for virtual care?
17. I am very worried and fearful about COVID-19 and the potential impacts to me and my family. What resources does the County have available to assist employees with dealing with stress?
18. If I or a family member is exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus and are also covered under the Cigna health plan, how will the COVID-19 testing be covered?
19. I have a question that is not addressed in this FAQ. Who should I direct my inquiry to?