On July 13, 2020, the New York City Health Department released a COVID-19 Face Coverings Frequently Asked Questions document (“FAQs”), encouraging anyone in New York City to wear a face covering in any indoor setting that is not their home, even if proper social distancing, i.e., 6 feet of separation, can be maintained. The recommendation comes as the City continues to reopen and more people are returning to the workplace.
The FAQs reiterate New York State’s requirement (per various Executive Orders) that face coverings be worn at all times when unable to maintain proper social distancing (such as, on public transportation). Although the FAQs for wearing face coverings in shared indoor spaces is a recommendation and not a requirement (and does not modify the current Phase Two office-based work guidelines under the state’s New York Forward re-opening plan), employers may nevertheless wish to consider requiring that employees and visitors wear face coverings in all common areas and shared spaces, even where social distancing can be maintained. Keep in mind, New York employers must provide face coverings to employees at no cost.