Are Masks Making a Comeback?


Masking to reduce COVID-19 transmission risk is required at a few colleges and one major movie studio.

As reported cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations increase, companies and universities are considering mask mandates for indoor facilities. According to the latest statistics from the CDC COVID-19 Data tracker, which covers August 6 through August 12, there were 12,613 hospital admissions—an increase of 21.6% from the most recent week. During that same week, deaths were a reported 1.3%, which was an increase of 8.3% from the previous week.

A small number of individual institutions are requiring masks including a movie studio and universities.

In response to recent increases in reported COVID-19 cases at the company, movie studio, Lionsgate, has required masking at its Santa Monica flagship office according to a company email that was obtained by and reported by Deadline. This would apply to almost half of the company’s employees who would need to wear “medical grade” face masks again. The company rule applies “except when alone in an office with the door closed, actively eating, actively drinking at their desk or workstation, or if they are the only individual present in a large open workspace.” The company is conducting contact tracing and offering at-home COVID-19 test kits.

As college universities are beginning their fall semesters, a few schools are taking steps to protect their students. Rutgers University and Georgetown University are requiring masks. In addition, Morris Brown College in Atlanta announced it was reinstating its mask mandate due to reported COVID-19 cases.

On its Instagram page, the college posted the following:

When to Potentially Mask

CDC has its COVID-19 County Check which provides information on hospital admission levels and prevention steps on a local level. By typing in the state and county you live in, the tracker will give people an assessment of the local risk level: low, medium, or high. And it can help public health officials and company executives decide if local incidence levels may dictate further protections for their employees or local citizens.

People who are at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 include:

  • Seniors
  • Immunocompromised conditions (people with autoimmune diseases, transplant recipients)
  • Pregnant women and recently pregnant

Conversely, the restaurant chain, In-N-Out, has banned employees from wearing masks, which went into effect on August 14. Exceptions are being made only to employees who have a "medical condition or health concern" and they must provide a medical note. According to a report on CNN, the well known burger chain policy is in effect for its restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah, which amount to about 100 locations. For the company's locations in California and Oregon—where they cannot ban masks—employees must wear company-provided N-95 masks.

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