General Lab Information

Use of Face Coverings

photo of woman donning facemask

Last updated: October 22, 2021

In accordance with current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Energy, everyone on the Brookhaven Lab site—regardless of vaccination status—must wear a face covering and socially distance in all public and work areas within buildings on the Brookhaven Lab site when community transmission levels of COVID-19 are “high” (current status) or “moderate.”

When outdoors, face coverings are required for those who cannot maintain six feet of distance from others. Face coverings must also be worn at security checkpoints. Lab Security Police Officers may, however, direct individuals to lower or temporarily remove their face covering to verify identity.

Face coverings are also required for those in government-owned vehicles when more than one person is present.

Exceptions to the Face Covering Requirement

  • When sitting or working alone in an area separated by floor-to-ceiling walls with the door closed
  • While eating and drinking

Exceptions to the Social Distancing Requirement

  • When alone in an area separated from other workers by floor-to-ceiling walls with the door closed
  • When the nature of physical work requires individuals to be within six feet in order to conduct the work safely. Appropriate work planning and face coverings are still required in such circumstances.

Face Covering Construction and Proper Fit

  • Face coverings must include at least two layers of protective material.
  • They must cover both your mouth and nose and fit snugly against the sides of your face and under your chin.
  • Face coverings should have a nose wire (nose bridge) to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.
  • They may not have an exhalation valve or vent as part of their construction.
  • Gaiters can be worn but must also meet the double-layer guidance.
  • Bandanas can be worn but must meet the double-layer guidance, and be worn close to the face and chin (not "cowboy style").

Face coverings are not respirators or personal protective equipment (PPE). They are also not the kind of masks worn by health care workers (N-95 or KN-95), which you must have supervisory approval to wear at Brookhaven based on work planning and control.

Wash or replace your face coverings regularly. The CDC provides guidance on making, wearing, and washing face coverings.

This guidance does not replace the need for PPE in medical, radiological areas, or other settings, as determined by work planning and control.

The Lab is monitoring national and regional conditions, and will inform employees when these requirements change.

Any employee who feels sick and displays COVID-19 symptoms—or who tests positive for COVID-19—must stay home from work and call the Occupational Medicine Clinic (Ext. 3670). Additional steps are described in the Lab's checklists.

Please send questions to the COVID-19 Task Force.