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This site lays out the expectations for NIH personnel working onsite. It is based on current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (SFWTF).

This plan is  being revised to reflect new CDC Respiratory Virus guidance. Please see CDC website here for up-to-date information

NOTE: May 11, 2023, marked the end of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) declaration. The CDC's authority to collect and receive certain types of data has changed. CDC will continue to report valuable data to inform individual and community public health actions to protect those at highest risk of severe COVID-19. COVID-19 safety measures by NIH facility will now be based on COVID-19 hospital admission levels. The NIH Office of Research Services (ORS), Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS), will now base mitigation strategies at all NIH locations on these hospital admission levels.

 NIH Healthcare Facilities Facial Covering Requirements

Healthcare facilities and locations with healthcare support activities have elevated safety needs. Starting June 5, 2023 facial coverings are required for all personnel in all inpatient units, outpatient clinics, day hospitals, associated patient waiting areas (including Admissions), and testing or treatment areas where patients (including healthy volunteers) receive care.

Before entering these areas, an NIH-provided mask must be obtained and worn. Mask dispensers and signs will be placed in all patient care areas. In addition, mask dispensers will be at the North, South, and P1 lobby entrances of Building 10 on the main campus.
Staff, patients, and visitors should continuously wear the same mask throughout their entire shift or visit. They should replace the mask if it becomes soiled, wet, damaged, or no longer fits properly.

The NIH has designated the following facilities as subject to the facial covering requirements for healthcare facilities, due to the direct presence of patients or the integral functions they serve that directly impact healthcare operations:

  • The entire Building 10 complex (CC, ACRF, CRC, etc.)
  • The Children's Inn
  • Safra Family Lodge
  • Harbor Hospital NIA facilities
  • NIDA BRC clinical facilities
  • NIEHS Clinical Research Unit (Building 109)
  • Phoenix Indian Medical Center (NIDDK)
  • NIH Asymptomatic Testing Sites
  • NIH Fire and Rescue Services during delivery of patient care
  • Community health clinics operated or staffed by NIH employees
  • All NIH Patient Shuttles, including shuttles stopping at Safra Family Lodge Shuttles and the Children's' Inn.

NIH Workplace Hospital Admission Levels

This page provides a summary of some key elements that change based on workplace hospital admission levels. Personnel working on site can find the complete COVID-19 Safety Plan by clicking on the button below.

NIH workplace locations will be evaluated weekly against the CDC hospital admission level for the county where they are located. Table 1 below identifies the current workplace hospital admission level for each NIH location. The workplace hospital admission levels can be found at the CDC COVID-19 by County website.


Table 2 (below) outlines some of the more common requirements that change based on workplace hospital admission level. Please note that the table is not comprehensive of all changes, only the most common changes. These requirements apply to all personnel on campus, including Federal staff, trainees, contractors and visitors. For more information on work requirements associated with the different hospital admission levels please visit the NIH COVID-19 Safety Plan. You may also reach out to your IC safety and health specialist if you have additional questions.

Table 2. Workplace Hospital Admission Level Requirements

Workplace Hospital Admission


Facial Covering Requirements

Required for in-patient care. Optional for other locations. Required for in-patient care. Optional for
other locations. 

Physical Distancing

OptionalRecommended for meetings, in-person gatherings, and high-risk settings. Recommended for meetings, in-person gatherings, and high-risk settings.

Personnel are encouraged to reference the NIH COVID-19 Safety Plan for valuable information on a variety of topics that will assist them is preventing COVID-19 spread in the workplace.  Critical information on the following topics (and much more) can be found in the guide:

Personnel with questions about COVID-19 requirements at the NIH can get email their questions to DOHS_COVID19@mail.nih.gov. Staff may also call the COVID hotline at 301-480-8990 with questions.

NIH COVID-19 Safety Guidance Footer