On February 9, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the New York Statewide Mask Mandate will not be renewed past its expiration on February 10, 2022. This has a great impact on the requirements for mask-wearing among the general public. However, there are several important distinctions.
At this time, certain employers are still governed by the NYS Health and Essential Rights Act (the HERO Act). The HERO Act provides protections for private sector employees against an airborne infectious disease outbreak by requiring employers to ensure employees wear appropriate face coverings in accordance with Department of Health guidelines.
The HERO Act is still in place until February 15, 2022. It is not presently known whether it will be extended. As such, employers in New York should be careful to remain compliant with their separate mask requirements under the HERO Act unless and until the HERO Act expires.
For a more complete explanation of the HERO Act and its requirements, please visit:
Mask mandates remain in place for certain sensitive settings, such as: pre-K through grade 12 schools, state-regulated health care facilities, state-regulated nursing homes, homeless shelters, public transportation, correctional facilities, childcare, group homes, and other sensitive settings per CDC guidelines. Employers and the general public alike should be careful to remain compliant with mask mandates still in effect in these settings.
The school-specific statewide mask mandate is based on a separate regulation, which is set to expire on February 21, 2022. It is not presently known whether the school-specific mask mandate will definitely be extended and for how long. Recent reports state that Gov. Hochul is planning to re-evaluate the school-specific mask mandate in early March after students return from midwinter break.
Finally, regardless of the expiration of the New York Statewide Mask Mandate, unvaccinated individuals—including those with medical exemptions—continue to be responsible for wearing masks in accordance with federal CDC guidelines.
If you have any questions about how these requirements impact your business, please contact: