With New York state adopting the CDC’s “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People” on May 19, employers now have the option of easing restrictions related to COVID-19.

The guidance relaxes mask-wearing and other requirements for fully-vaccinated individuals. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine. New York State issued its own “Implementing” guidance the same day, summarizing the state’s adoption of the new CDC standards and identifying several industries that are covered by the new guidance. The State also updated its “Reopening Reference Guide,” with further details on business capacity rules, office capacity rules, rules on small- and large-scale events, and other industry-specific details.

The following establishments are exempt from the new guidance and must continue mask-wearing and other measures in their workplaces:

  • Pre-K to 12 schools
  • public transit
  • homeless shelters
  • correctional facilities
  • nursing homes
  • health care settings

Option for Employers in New York State

Employers have the choice to either continue requiring employees to wear masks and social distance, or adopt the new CDC guidance. For employers choosing to adopt the new guidelines, fully vaccinated employees are not required to wear masks or social distance. The state’s guidance document includes a chart summarizing employers’ options.

If employers choose to implement the new guidance, they may either rely upon employees’ self-reporting of their vaccination status, or they may require proof of vaccination status. Such proof may be provided in paper form, a digital application, or the State’s Excelsior Pass.

Other Changes to Restrictions

In addition to the above changes, the updated New York State guidance confirms these changes to pandemic restrictions:

  • Outdoor non-residential social gatherings increase to 500;
  • Indoor non-residential social gathering limit increases to 250;
  • Gyms and fitness centers may increase capacity to 50%
  • Casinos and gaming facilities may increase capacity to 50%
  • Graduation and commencement ceremonies are allowed as of May 1 with limited capacity, dependent on event size and location.

Harris Beach will continue to monitor this development and other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions, please contact the Harris Beach attorney with whom you usually work.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.