On May 19, 2021, New York state adopted the CDC’s guidance for fully-vaccinated individuals which relaxes several COVID-19 precautions, as follows:
• Masks and Social Distancing:
- Fully-vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear a mask or observe social distancing in most indoor settings, including offices.
- Unvaccinated individuals must continue to observe mask and social distancing requirements.
- Businesses may continue to require masks and social distancing for all individuals in their discretion, and businesses may decide whether to apply the updated mask and social distancing guidance to the entire establishment or only a separate, designated part of the establishment.
- Businesses are no longer subject to the maximum capacity restrictions, except as required to maintain six feet of distance between parties. However, the distancing requirement is eliminated, and the business may operate up to 100% capacity, if all patrons in the business (or the section thereof) are fully vaccinated.
• Proof of Vaccination:
- Employers that congregate patrons and/or that operate below the State’s social gathering limit (currently 250 individuals indoors or 500 individuals outdoors) may require proof of full vaccination (via paper form, digital application, or the State’s Excelsior Pass) or may rely upon self-reporting of vaccination status.
- Employers that congregate patrons and operate above the State’s social gathering limit must require proof of full vaccination (via paper form, digital application, or the State’s Excelsior Pass), and may not rely upon self-reporting of vaccination status.
While the state’s adoption of the CDC guidance supersedes its mandatory workplace guidance “Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” with respect to masks and social distancing, employers should take note that the other elements of the guidelines remain in place, including health screening questionnaires for all individuals, regardless of vaccine status.
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Seward & Kissel has established a COVID-19 Resource Center on our website to access all relevant alerts that we distribute.
If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 reopening guidance or any other employment issues, please contact Anne C. Patin at (212) 574-1516, Julia C. Spivack at (212) 574-1373 or your relationship partner at the Firm.