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Justice Department employees told to wear face coverings in common areas

US Justice Department employees must wear face coverings in common areas at agency buildings due to the coronavirus pandemic, the deputy attorney general said in a memo obtained by CNN. By David Shortell, CNN

(CNN) -- US Justice Department employees must wear face coverings in common areas at agency buildings due to the coronavirus pandemic, the deputy attorney general said in a memo obtained by CNN.

The memo written Tuesday follows and notes guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that face coverings should be worn in public settings, and comes as many Justice Department employees continue to stay out of the office and work from home.

Employees who work out of a government building are told they may remove the covering in a private office, cubicle or workspace where at least six feet of social distancing can be maintained from others, the memo states.

Attorney General William Barr has referred to some social distancing policies as "draconian" and called for steps towards normalcy to resume after the end of the month, but he's also acknowledged the administration's stay-at-home directives were necessary to combat the virus.

More recently, Barr softened his tone and expressed support for the federal guidelines.

For his part, Barr frequently wears a mask around the Justice Department as he continues to report to work during the pandemic, he told Fox News in an interview last week. He also wears one along with his security detail when he commutes into Washington every morning, he said.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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