New York has updated its COVID-19 guidelines, but they might not be in effect for long.  On June 8, 2021, New York updated the reopening guidelines that were initially issued as part of New York’s phased reopening process.

The revised guidelines scale back some requirements, such as social distancing and masking requirements.  The new guidelines also update health assessment requirements for most businesses.  Notably, the new guidelines allow businesses to perform health assessments “via signage, at point of entry” to determine whether the individual meets the screening requirements for entry.  The screening criteria remains largely unchanged, and still assess whether an individual has had COVID-19 symptoms, potential exposure to COVID-19, or a positive COVID-19 test.

Governor Cuomo has also announced that “virtually all” COVID-19 restrictions will be become optional once 70% of New York residents age 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.  On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo said New York was expected to reach the 70% mark in approximately eight days, but it could be even sooner based on more recent data.  That means that for most businesses, the updated guidelines will be short lived.

Some of the institutional restrictions will remain in effect for large venues, schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and healthcare facilities.  For all other business, complying with the guidelines will become optional upon reaching the 70% mark.  According to the Governor’s statement, this includes capacity restrictions, social distancing requirements, cleaning procedures, collecting information for contact tracing, and health assessment requirements.  Unvaccinated individuals will still be responsible for wearing a mask and maintaining proper social distance in accordance with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

Until New York reaches the 70% mark, businesses should make sure they are complying with the most recent guidelines.  After that, most businesses can decide for themselves whether they want to continue following the guidelines.

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.