As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge across the state of New York, it is important that residents and workers within New York City are familiar with the recent order from the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
On December 13, 2021, David Chokshi – the Commissioner – issued a new mandate in response to the rapid increase of Omicron-variant COVID-19 cases. The order requires that, beginning on December 27, 2021, workers must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to their employer prior to entering the workplace. The following documents satisfy the form of proof of vaccination: a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, NYC COVID Safe App, a valid New York State Excelsior/ Excelsior Plus Pass, CLEAR Health Pass, or any other method sufficient to demonstrate proof of vaccination. If workers fail to provide such proof, employers must exclude them from the workplace. An unvaccinated worker may enter the workplace only for a quick and limited purpose.
In addition, the order requires employers to maintain a copy and record of each worker’s proof of vaccination, as well as a record of reasonable accommodation(s). The record must include: the worker’s name, whether the individual is fully vaccinated, the date of a second dose if the first of a two-dose vaccine is reported (second doses must be completed no later than 45 days after the first dose), and if a reasonable accommodation was provided, the basis for the accommodation must be stated. Workers who have a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated may apply for a reasonable accommodation.
A City agency may request an employer to inspect its records pursuant to this order. Also, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has created a one-page attestation sign that employers must fill out and post in a conspicuous location at their place of business by December 27, 2021. The purpose of the sign is to confirm the employer’s compliance with the order.
This mandate applies to any non-governmental entity that employs more than one worker in New York City. A workplace is any place where work is performed in the presence of another employee or a member of the public. A worker is a full- or part-time staff member, employer, employee, intern, volunteer or contractor of a covered entity.
While this mandate took immediate effect on December 13, 2021, it is also worth noting the recent determination on indoor masking from the Commissioner of the Department of Health. Until the determination is changed or rescinded, people over the age of two and medically able to tolerate a face covering/mask are required to wear a face covering/mask – whether as personnel or visitors – in the following places: healthcare settings, adult care facilities, P-12 school settings, correctional facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, and on public transportation conveyances and at indoor transportation hubs. Otherwise, all other indoor public places that do not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry shall observe the determination until January 15, 2022.
Take a moment to ensure that your business adheres to these new mandates. If you have any questions or concerns as to how they may affect your business, call us right away (212-903-4546), or contact us confidentially online. Conveniently located in New York City (and available by Zoom conference), your experienced business lawyers, Michelle Mandelstein and Dwight Yellen, will make you our priority and put your mind at ease. We are seasoned professionals and know business!
Thanks to our law student associate, Luciano De Luca, for assisting with this article!
We wish you continuous good health and safety in the new year!