On May 13, exactly 14 months or 426 days after the U.S. declared a national emergency due to COVID-19, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances. Following the announcement, New Jersey  ripped off its collective mask and retailers have updated their mandates. But where do U.S. glass shops stand in the pandemic’s aftermath?

The 426 days between the U.S.’s national emergency declaration and the CDC-led unmasking have altered the way companies do business, but safety and caution are at the forefront of actions taken by those in the industry.

Nataline Lomedico, CEO and president of Los Angeles-based Giroux Glass, says that the company will continue to follow the same approach since the start of the pandemic, while encouraging employees to get vaccinated.

“Constant and continual communication has enabled us to fare well during the pandemic,” Lomedico says. “It has brought out the best in our team. Although we do not attempt to force our employees to get vaccinated, we make getting vaccinated convenient by offering flexibility to work schedules, and pay employees if a vaccination appointment interferes with their work time. We wouldn’t want a potential cut in their paycheck to determine if our employees get vaccinated or not. We continue to mandate masks for all employees to protect those who are not vaccinated.”

YKK AP America, based in Austell, Ga., is of the same mindset. Steve Schohan, marketing and communications manager for the company, says that all associates wear face coverings, with some exceptions, until vaccine rates increase.

“YKK AP is maintaining a mask mandate that requires all [of our] associates to wear masks or face coverings in the workplace at all times, with the exception of individual workstations where an associate is not within six feet of another employee,” he says. “To ensure compliance, associates must have a face mask at all times. All of our COVID-19 protocols will remain in place until we see vaccination rates increase in the areas we operate. We are optimistic that we will be in a position to relax our protocols in the not too distant future, but we live by our fundamental behaviors. ‘Be Vigilant About Safety’ is an essential part of our company DNA: every position in our company has inherent dangers. Know how to make your job as safe as possible, while being aware of your changing surroundings. Never take shortcuts that compromise your safety or that of your teammates.”

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, so do the protocols and guidelines designed around it. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) has altered vaccine guidance, which previously said employers should record all adverse reactions to required vaccinations. The agency’s updated FAQ page on adverse reactions now says the following:

“DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts. As a result, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904’s recording requirements to require any employer to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022. We will reevaluate the agency’s position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward.”

For more information, visit the agency’s website.