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Mask Guidance & FAQs

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Updated: May 05, 2020

Mask Use & FAQs – COVID 19

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As a follow up to the Guidance on Lifting Shelter-in-Place Orders – Phase 1 that we shared with you on April 27, we have adjusted the policy to provide more clarity about when, where, and why we are asking you to wear masks at work.

Mask guidance updates:

  • Masks may be removed when employees are able to maintain applicable social distancing requirements (separation of 6 feet/2 meters) while at work, either in individual offices, cubicles, workstations on the manufacturing floor or elsewhere.

  • Employees are required to wear masks when moving through common areas in transit from one place to another.


We have created a comprehensive Mask Guidance FAQ below to aid your understanding of our policy.

Q: Why is CoorsTek requiring masks to be worn?
A: Masks can help slow the spread of the virus. They will help contain respiratory droplets from your nose or mouth which is especially important when somebody is asymptomatic with the virus (which data is now showing occurs 14%-33% of the time). While PPE is often viewed as a way to protect yourself from hazards, in this case the mask is helpful to protect you and others in case you have the virus. We are asking you to remember that this is about slowing the spread of the virus throughout the workplace and the broader community.

Q: Why haven’t we required masks to be worn all along? Are we implementing the mask policy to cater to office employees who are returning to work?
A: With communities reopening, increased businesses and non-essential travel, and citizens interacting more frequently, there is a greater risk of another outbreak through community spread. Even as non-essential businesses reopen they are most likely going to require masks for the same reasons we are. Office workers will have to comply with the policy like everybody else.

Q: How long will we have to wear masks?
A: We do not know how long we will be in Phase 1 of the New Ways of Working. It is likely going to last at least two to three months, but it could take longer. We are tracking trends in data from local governments as well as our own internal data. As we see downward trends, we will move into Phase 2 and some of our policies will loosen.

Q: Are masks effective to protect us from the virus?
A: Masks are not 100% effective against the virus, but they can help with the spread of the virus. Masks are effective in containing the medium-to-larger respiratory droplets well, so their use will reduce the risk. Not all masks offer the same level of protection, which is why we are recommending KN95s for vulnerable employees and surgical and cloth masks for other employees.

Q: As a vulnerable employee am I required to wear a KN95 mask?
A: No, you are strongly encouraged to wear a KN95 mask if available; however, you can opt for a surgical mask or a cloth mask based on your working location and EHS approval.

Q: When can masks be removed?
A: Masks may be removed when employees are able to, and do, maintain applicable social distancing requirements (separation of 6 feet/2 meters) while at work, either in individual offices, cubicles, workstations on the manufacturing floor, or elsewhere.

Masks may be removed to eat or drink. Employees are required to wear a mask when moving through common areas in transit from one place to another.

Q: What if I want to wear a mask even when I am not required to?

A: Please wear a mask if you want to.

Q: What if my government requires masks to be worn at all times?
A: We will follow government requirements. Our guidance calls out that local government requirements may be more restrictive than this CoorsTek guidance. In that case, government requirements will apply.

Q: What are the downsides to wearing a mask?
A: Masks may be hot and uncomfortable for some people. When you are not used to wearing them, they may feel like a nuisance. Because of this, you may find yourself adjusting the mask and touching your face more frequently. It is important that you maintain strong hygiene practices and wash your hands before adjusting masks. Masks also can become saturated with saliva, condensation, or mists from the production process.

Q: How long can I wear my mask?
A: Disposable masks (KN95s and surgical masks) should not be worn for more than eight hours and then discarded. Cloth masks should be washed after eight hours of wear.

Q: My location has deaf employees that rely on lip reading to communicate. Are there exceptions to wearing masks for this situation?
A: Yes, if you are wearing a mask and need to communicate with an employee who lip reads, you may remove your mask for that interaction, but you must maintain social distancing while doing so.

Q: My government is loosening restrictions, why isn’t CoorsTek?
A: Governments are loosening some restrictions to allow businesses to reopen and people to leave their homes after work. Local governments are putting out rules and guidance around loosening their Shelter-in-Place Orders. As government orders are lifted, social distancing, cleanliness, and masks are going to be an even stronger part of our future.

Q: What happens if I refuse to wear a mask?
A: If you refuse to wear a mask, we will make accommodations if there is a medical reason. However, if you simply refuse to wear a mask, we will engage in conversations to help you understand why we are wearing masks to protect ourselves and others. Another option would be for you to work from home or take time off without pay.

Q: How will we know when my location is in Phase I and the new guidance applies?
A: The Response Team will work with the ELT to determine what Phase each location is in based on local government and CoorsTek data on trends with the virus.

This will be communicated through your Regional Operations VP, EHS Regional Manager and HR Director. If a plant or location wishes to implement this mask policy prior to entering Phase 1, they may opt to do so with plant leadership approval.

Q: Can CoorsTek make masks available to my family?
A: At this time, CoorsTek can only provide masks to employees. We are watching our inventory and we will let employees know if we see an opportunity to make them available for personal use.


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