The Wright County Board of Commissioners voted this week to adopt a face covering/mask policy for county employees. While the policy doesn’t require employees to wear masks or face coverings, it is recommended that they do so.
Some departments that deal with the public as part of their operations, such has Human Services, Sheriff, Attorney and Court Administration, have instituted their own plans. Commissioner Mark Daleiden said the purpose of the policy is to have a plan for all employees, not just those in specific departments.
“I think we need an overall plan for the county as a whole,” Daleiden said. “If different departments want to have one that is a little stricter, that’s fine. The issue I have is that if they make it too much stricter and you’re dealing with union employees, they could file a grievance if it’s too strict or not strict enough. By going by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, I think it will keep us safe from any issues regarding that.”
The county policy has five points to it:
• Face coverings/masks must cover the nose and mouth.
• Face coverings/masks are not required while in private spaces such as an office or single occupant vehicle.
• Acceptable face coverings/masks can be homemade masks, paper masks, cloth masks, sports type face coverings, surgical masks, etc. N95 masks are not required or needed.
• The County has available up to three (3) face coverings per person with the intention that a mask only be worn every third day, which should allow decontamination of the mask before the next use. Employees using their own homemade coverings/masks should also rotate their coverings/masks daily using this same three-day approach or launder the (cloth) mask between uses if used more frequently.
• In some cases, wearing a face coverings/mask is not medically advised. Exceptions will be made as requested. Employees should be aware that asking a co-worker why they aren’t wearing a mask is prohibited.
Employee groups that were addressed included three primary groups:
All Wright County Buildings. Face coverings/masks are recommended for employees performing job duties in direct contact with consumers and when at work in group settings of two or more where social distancing cannot be practiced. Face coverings/masks are recommended when in the public areas of County facilities.
Inspection Staff and Other Workers while in the Field. When in the field, face coverings/masks are not required unless employees ride together in a vehicle; or when working in close proximity (within 6 feet) of others, or with members of the public. Face coverings/masks should also be worn when in a consumer’s home or place of business. Non-Public Health staff should not enter a home where there is an active COVID-19 case, or someone is under quarantine or self-isolation, due to an exposure or symptoms.
Facilities Maintenance Staff/Overnight. Face coverings/masks are not required unless employees are required to work in close proximity (within six feet) of others.
Board Chair Christine Husom said that the policy leaves to the discretion of department heads to implement in their areas of county facilities for safety purposes.
“I agree if they want a stricter policy depending on what’s going on in their individual departments, we don’t know that,” Husom said. “If they want a stricter policy, that’s fine. This is just a general overall policy. It’s not exactly one size fits all. We respect our department heads to make these decisions, too.”
No action was taken on requiring those coming into county facilities to wear a face covering or mask.