City of Houston suspends required face mask policy for employees after COVID level lowered to orange

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The CDC is significantly loosening the federal mask-wearing guidelines.

Sources say the CDC will relax its recommendation to wear masks indoors publicly in most areas.

This will be the agency's first change to the mask policy since last July.

COVID-19 case numbers are declining across the country. Yesterday in Harris County, the COVID alert level was lowered from red to orange.

The new guidance comes as most states have already lifted or announced plans to lift their indoor masking mandates.

RELATED: CDC to ease COVID mask guidelines for 70% of US, including inside schools

"With the benefit of widely-available vaccines and booster shots and robust COVID-19 testing, our country is beginning to move into a new phase of the pandemic. Due to our community's combined efforts, the positivity rate in Houston is declining, and hospitalizations are manageable," said Mayor Sylvester Turner in a press release.

The policy suspension no longer requires City of Houston employee temperature screenings, but does not apply to all clinical personnel (e.g., EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and doctors).

RELATED: Harris County Judge Hidalgo lowers COVID-19 threat level to orange

All employees are still expected to report to work unless they are sick, ill, or test positive for COVID-19.

"I encourage all employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot when eligible," says Turner.

Employees can self-report your COVID-19 vaccination in the City's Talent Management System Healthy Rewards Initiative portal to receive $25 in Healthy Rewards and to satisfy one of the wellness engagement options to earn an insurance discount as part of the City's annual wellness program goals.
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