This memo provides guidance to agencies following the release of the President’s Executive Order (EO) on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing. This EO, which is part of the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, states that: “It is the policy of the Administration to halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures. Such measures include wearing masks when around others, physical distancing, and other related precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Put simply, masks and other public health measures reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when communities make widespread use of such measures, and thus save lives.”
Pursuant to this EO, agencies should immediately require masks and distancing consistent with current CDC guidance in all Federal buildings.
To provide ongoing guidance to heads of agencies on the operation of the Federal Government, the safety of its employees, and the continuity of Government functions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the President has established a Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. The Task Force’s guidance and recommendations to departments and agencies will be based on public health best practices as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health experts and will be co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Administrator of General Services (GSA), and the COVID19 Response Coordinator, with membership from several agencies.
As an initial step, to support the implementation of this Executive Order, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and OMB are providing agencies with model safety principles for executive departments and agencies as they build tailored COVID-19 workplace safety plans (see Appendix I). These model principles are intended to assist agencies in fulfilling the requirement to: “immediately take action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to require compliance with CDC guidelines with respect to wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and other public health measures by: on-duty or on-site Federal employees; on-site Federal contractors; and all persons in Federal buildings or on Federal lands.”
Specifically, agencies are required to review the attached model principles and develop tailored agency COVID-19 workplace safety plans. The 24 Chief Financial Officer Act agencies must submit their plans by Friday, January 29 to the following site: https://go.max.gov/covid19plans. Other agencies do not need to submit their plans.
Following agency submissions, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and OMB will work with agencies to review and finalize plans. The principles outlined in the attached model should be used as a starting point for individual agency workforce safety plans, and agencies should adjust, as appropriate, for its mission requirements. Agencies with on-site contractor employees should make appropriate refinements to ensure the principles are applied to contractor employees in a manner that achieves workplace safety. This document is not meant to be comprehensive, and additional implementing guidance will follow as necessary and as conditions evolve, following guidance from the CDC and the Safer Workforce Task Force.
As implementation plans are implemented, agencies should continue to ensure that all employees, on-site contractors, and visitors to Federal workplaces are aware of the requirement to comply with CDC guidelines, including with respect to wearing masks and following appropriate distancing practices.
If agencies have additional questions on OMB MAX access or the development of the safety plan, please direct questions to the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force at SaferFederalWorkforce@gsa.gov.
Of paramount concern is the health and safety of all Federal employees and contractors and their families, and the Administration is committed to taking a safe, cautious, iterative, datadriven approach. Thank you for your important role in ensuring the health and safety of our Federal workforce and contractors, their families, and the public in our Federal workplaces.