Decree 50,308/22 published on March 7 by the municipality of Rio de Janeiro removed the requirement to wear face masks to protect against covid-19 for access to and remaining in closed environments, extending the loosening started by the municipality in October of 2021, when the removal of this protection in open environments was authorized.

However, the change authorized by the city of Rio de Janeiro, the first capital to adopt the measure, does not necessarily mean the end of the obligation to wear protective masks in the workplace.

This is because the interministerial ordinance MTP/MS 14/22, which governs the use of face masks against covid-19 by employees in the work environment, remains in effect. Considering the Federal Government's exclusive competence to legislate on labor matters, and the Ministry of Labor and Employment's competence to regulate such matters, a municipal standard cannot override and alter a labor rule promulgated by the Federal Government, under penalty of direct violation of the Constitution.

It should be noted that the STF decided, in the analysis of a direct action of unconstitutionality, that the competence to take measures against covid-19 is concurrent, and the most restrictive measure must always prevail.

Considering the competence over labor issues and the prevalence of restrictive measures, we understand that employers should, until the states are aligned on the issue, maintain the use of masks in the workplace.

We also remind you that the costs related to the masks cannot be passed on. It is necessary to provide them to employees.