US Government Agency Tells Employees To Wear Masks On Video Calls
According to the Journal-Sentinel in Madison, the Department of Natural Resources issued an email to staff on 31 July outlining the new order, which would take effect the next day.
It said that workers must wear face coverings while on teleconferences, regardless or whether or not they were around other people or at any risk of spreading Covid-19.
Governor Tony Evers issued a statewide mask requirement two weeks ago, with the change coming in on 1 August.
Speaking on a call with reporters, Evers acknowledged some people won't want to wear masks, but encouraged them to do so regardless.
"You may be frustrated about having to wear a mask, some people are frustrated about having to obey the speed limit, but they do that, too," he said.
"This is about life and death."
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Reminding employees of the new measure in the 31 July email, Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole said masks would be compulsory at DNR facilities.
"Also, wear your mask, even if you are home, to participate in a virtual meeting that involves being seen - such as on Zoom or another video-conferencing platform - by non-DNR staff," Cole said.
"Set the safety example which shows you as a DNR public service employee care about the safety and health of others."
However, Nasia Safdar, Medical Director of Infection Control at UW Health, said that - from a medical perspective - masks only need to be worn at home in limited situations, such as to protect people if someone living with them has COVID-19.
"Beyond that, there is not a reason to routinely wear a mask in your home if that risk isn't there," she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Safdar said that wearing a mask on a call may be a good way to show support for the idea, but added: "In general I would tie mask use to transmission risk, and that doesn't seem to be a good reason to wear it."
DNR spokeswoman Megan Sheridan said the agency had wanted to set an example, while also creating 'a very visual reminder to all that wearing a mask in a public setting helps prevent the spread of Covid-19'.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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