If employees have been exposed but are not showing symptoms, should I allow them to work?

Employees may have been exposed if they are a “close contact” of someone who is infected, which is defined as being within about 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time:

  • Potentially exposed employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and follow CDC recommended steps.
  • Potentially exposed employees who do not have symptoms should remain at home or in a comparable setting and practice social distancing for 14 days.

All other employees should self-monitor for symptoms and wear cloth face coverings when in public. If they develop symptoms, they should notify their supervisor and stay home.

See Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure for more information.

To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that critical infrastructure employees may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain symptom-free and additional precautions are taken to protect them and the community.

  • Critical infrastructure businesses have an obligation to limit, to the extent possible, the reintegration into the worksite of in-person employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 but remain symptom-free in ways that best protect the health of the employee, their co-employees, and the general public.
    • Remaining at home for 14 days may still be the most preferred and viable option for exposed employees.
  • An analysis of core job tasks and workforce availability at worksites can allow the employer to match core activities to other equally skilled and available in-person employees who have not been exposed.
  • A critical infrastructure employee who is symptom-free and returns to work should wear a cloth face covering at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue cloth face coverings or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.