The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced Federal employees will need to wear a mask inside of Federal buildings once again, in light of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggesting those who are fully vaccinated wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission.

“In areas of substantial or high community transmission, agencies must require all Federal employees, onsite contractors, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask inside of Federal buildings,” OMB said in an email to agencies on Tuesday evening. “As of today, that includes the Washington, D.C. area.”

OMB encouraged agencies to post signs and update their agency websites to reflect the new masking requirements for each Federal facility. Those who are not vaccinated are still required to physically distance in compliance with CDC guidance.

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases nationwide due to the Delta variant, agencies are currently working on new personnel policies.

“In the coming days, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force will release updated Model Safety Principles to give additional guidance to all Federal agencies as you update your COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plans, as well as provide FAQs regarding the updated CDC guidance,” OMB said. “Following issuance of updated Model Safety Principles, the Task Force will provide agencies with a checklist based on the updated principles to help guide agencies’ required updates to their respective COVID-19 workplace safety plans.”

OMB also urged agencies to “strongly encourage all employees and contractors to get vaccinated.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.