As various states lower the restrictions practiced over the past three months, they are also maintaining, and in some cases increasing, the guidelines for the protection of employees in businesses as they re-open. Face shields are now being suggested and, in some businesses, required for use over fiber face masks.
A team of physicians from the University of Iowa says face shields will replace masks as a more comfortable and more effective deterrent to COVID-19. They add, “face shields, which can be quickly and affordably produced and distributed, should be included as part of strategies to safely and significantly reduce transmission in the community setting.“
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began advocating the use of cloth masks to help stop COVID-19 transmission in April, laboratory testing "suggests that cloth masks provide [only] some filtration of virus-sized aerosol particles.“
As an example, here are guidelines recently distributed in California for food service employees in contact with the general public:
CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT LAW REPORT
All employees who have contact with the public or other employees during their shift(s) are offered, at no cost, a cloth face mask. The covering is to be worn by the employee at all times during the workday when in contact or likely to come into contact with others. Employees need not wear a cloth face covering when the employee is alone.
Face shields are provided and worn by wait staff and other employees when servicing customers not wearing a cloth face covering to eat and drink. The face shield is to be worn in addition to the cloth face covering. Cloth face coverings protect others from the wearer’s droplets; face shields help protect the wearer from other’s droplets.
All employees, vendors and delivery personnel have been provided instructions regarding maintaining physical distancing and the use face coverings when around others.
Physical distancing protocols should be used in any office areas, kitchens, pantries, walk-in freezers, or other high density high-traffic employee areas. Incidental contact is to be expected, however, the goal is to limit this to less than 15 minutes, preferably 10 minutes, and the employees are always wearing their face coverings.
Dishwashers are provided with equipment to protect their eyes, nose and mouth from contamination due to splash using a combination of face coverings, protective glasses, and/or face shields. Dishwashers are provided impermeable aprons and required to change frequently. Reusable protective equipment such as face shields and glasses are to be properly disinfected between uses.