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September 28th, 2021
Changes to Face Mask and Social Distancing Requirements in Updated NY HERO Act Model Plan
As discussed in our previous alerts and blog posts here, the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (the “NY HERO Act”) requires employers to among other things maintain, and upon designation by the NYS Commissioner of Health, implement, an “airborne infectious disease” plan that meets certain minimum standards. On September 6, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease, triggering employer obligations to implement HERO Act plans and to verbally review them with employees. This designation is currently in place through September 30 but is expected to be extended.
Previously, the NY Hero Act Model Plan required that all employees “wear face coverings throughout the work day to the greatest extent possible” and follow physical distancing “as much as feasible,” while “avoiding unnecessary gatherings,” and “using a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained,” all without regard to vaccination status. The Model Plan (here) has now been updated as follows:
In workplaces where all individuals on premises, including but not limited to employees, are fully vaccinated, face coverings are “recommended, but not required.” For all other workplaces, employees are required to wear appropriate face coverings in accordance with guidance from the State Department of Health (“DOH”) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), that unvaccinated individuals wear a mask in indoor public places.
Physical distancing must be maintained “to the extent feasible” in accordance with guidance from the DOH and the CDC. The revised Model Plan removed prior references to “avoiding unnecessary gatherings” and “using a face covering when physical distance cannot be maintained.” Employers are still required to determine whether, in situations where prolonged close contact with other individuals is likely, additional controls beyond certain minimum controls should be implemented.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers should review their plan to ensure that it is in compliance with the requirements of the NY HERO Act and other applicable public health guidance, and may revise their plan as per the new Model Plan requirements regarding face coverings and social distancing.
If you have questions about the New York HERO Act Model Plan, please contact, Wendy Stryker at (212) 705-4838 or email@example.com, Tricia Legittino at (310) 579-9632 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Employment Compliance, Training & Litigation Group.
Other Employment Law Alerts
New Ruling from the National Labor Relations Board May Require Significant Handbook Revisions
On August 2, the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision, Stericycle Inc. and Teamsters Local 628, that creates a new legal standard for how the NLRB will evaluate workplace rules and policies to determine if such rules interfere with employees’ protected rights to engage in concerted workplace activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Read more.
August 8 2023
New York Releases New Changes to its Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Video
On April 11, 2023, the New York State Department of Labor released updated versions of its sexual harassment model policy and training materials. Read more.
April 17 2023
National Labor Relations Board Provides Key Guidance on Severance Agreements
On March 22, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) released a memorandum providing employers of both unionized and private sector workplaces with important guidance about severance agreements that contain broad confidentiality and/or non-disparagement provisions (the "Memo"). Read more.
March 30 2023