Starnes Davis Florie


CDC Expands Definition of “Close Contact”

October 26, 2020 CDC Expands Definition of “Close Contact”

While the guidance put out by the Centers for Disease Control, and other public health agencies, is not “law” that must be followed like a federal statute, it is wise for businesses to follow CDC guidance with regard to their employees and customers. Following public health guidance will put your business in the best position to defend a claim that someone contracted COVID-19 on your premises. Therefore, we wanted to alert you that the CDC has expanded the definition of “close contact” with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 to include brief, but repeated encounters.  Previously, the CDC guidelines recommended that a person quarantine if they were within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 consecutive minutes or more.  Brief encounters of less than fifteen minutes were not considered “close contact” and would not trigger the quarantine period.  Under the expanded definition, “close contact” includes anyone who was within six feet of an infected person “for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.”  Thus multiple short encounters adding up to a total of 15 minutes during the course of a day would be considered “close contact” and would trigger the recommended 14-day quarantine.


Written By: Amber Whillock


Our lawyers are available to help guide you through these and other COVID-19 issues.  If you have any questions or need legal support, please contact:

Trip Umbach at 205-868-6072 or
Amber Whillock at 205-868-6078 or


Click Here to view more COVID-19 Resources

View All News