On December 10, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul announced masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places in New York State unless businesses and venues implement a vaccine requirement.
- The mandate is in effect from December 13, 2021 through January 15, 2022, at which time the State will re-evaluate next steps.
- An “indoor public place” is defined as any indoor space that is not a private residence, including indoor entertainment venues, concert halls, indoor sports stadiums, recreational spaces, restaurants, office buildings, shopping centers, grocery stores, pharmacies, houses of worship and common areas in residential buildings.
- Venues must implement either a mask mandate or a vaccine requirement.
- Businesses and venues are not allowed to do a “combination” requirement, meaning they must choose whether to implement a full-course vaccine requirement or a mask requirement.
- Whichever policy a business chooses must apply to all patrons, employees, visitors and guests throughout the establishment at all times.
- Businesses and venues that implement a mask mandate must ensure all individuals (regardless of vaccination status) past their second birthday and medically able to tolerate a face covering wear a mask at all times while indoors, except when eating, drinking or alone in an enclosed room.
- Establishments that implement a vaccine requirement must ensure that anyone twelve years of age or older is “fully vaccinated” before entering.
- Fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is defined as fourteen days past an individual’s last vaccination dose in their initial vaccine series.
- Children between the ages of five to eleven must only show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine before entering places with a vaccine requirement.
Employers should determine whether they are going to implement a mask mandate or a vaccine requirement in their places of business. Meltzer Lippe is well versed in the legislative developments pertaining to COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates. Employers with questions relative to the foregoing are encouraged to contact Jonathan D. Farrell, Larry R. Martinez or Daniel F. Carrascal.