Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On February 9, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she would let the New York mask mandate lapse on its Thursday, February 10, 2022 expiration date. The Governor’s lifting of the statewide rule, which required businesses to either require proof of vaccination or universal masking indoors, does not yet include an end to mandatory masking in schools, despite a slew of action to that effect in neighboring states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. California is also allowing statewide masking requirements for businesses and many other indoor public spaces to expire on February 15, 2022.

Continue Reading Mask Off: New York Governor Drops Mask Mandate, for Now

On January 26, 2022, the City and County of San Francisco released an updated Health Order No. C19-07y (the “Updated Health Order”), which addresses a number of rules issued in an effort to combat continued spread of COVID-19, including changes in exemptions to the universal indoor mask mandate.  Specifically, effective February 1, 2022, the Updated Health Order renews a previously-suspended masking exemption for vaccinated workplaces, with a few significant changes.

First, under the revised mask exemption, only employees who are “Up to Date” on vaccination (see below for definition) may go unmasked in the workplace, assuming the other conditions for the exemption are met.  Other individuals must wear masks at all times, subject to limited exceptions (e.g., alone, while eating).  Further, consistent with the Cal/OSHA definition of an outbreak, this exemption only applies if there have been no outbreaks (currently defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in an “exposed group” within a 14-day period) in the past 30 days.

Continue Reading Mask On, Mask Off? San Francisco Again Revises Its Rules for Universal Face Coverings

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at how state and local COVID-19 requirements and new COVID-19 benefits are shifting employers’ policies once again.

Continue Reading Video: SCOTUS OSHA Decision Reactions and the Impact of New COVID-19 Benefits on Employers – Employment Law This Week

As we have previously explained, pursuant to Section 1 of the NY HERO Act, employers were required to prepare an airborne infectious disease exposure plan, and implement such plans when the New York State Commissioner of Health has made a designation that a highly contagious communicable disease presents a serious risk of harm to public health. Currently, such a designation is in effect until February 15, 2022. The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) prepared model plans based on their published Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard (“Standard”). On August 25, 2021, the NYSDOL published a set of emergency regulations, identical to the Standard, in the New York State Register. Although they had not been formally adopted, most businesses have been following the Standard.

Continue Reading New York HERO Act “Standard” Formally Adopted as Emergency Rule

In connection with the new Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that went into effect on January 14, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) has released the following COVID-19-related resources for employers:

Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Releases Updated COVID-19 Resources for Employers

The  New York State Acting Commissioner of Health has extended the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health under the NY HERO Act until February 15, 2022. Accordingly, the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans required under Section 1 of the Act must be kept in place through that date, at which point the Commissioner will review whether the designation should be continued.

Continue Reading Keep Your Safety Plans in Place: New York HERO Act COVID-19 Designation Extended Until February 15, 2022

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we’re breaking down what last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on two of the federal vaccine mandate rules will mean for employers.

Continue Reading Video: SCOTUS Decides on Vaccine Rules, Companies Can Still Require Vaccination, Restrictive Covenants in CO – Employment Law This Week

As explained in greater detail by our colleague Stuart M. Gerson, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two major, and quickly decided, rulings on January 13, 2022. After hearing oral arguments only six days earlier, the Court issued two unsigned decisions per curiam. A 5-4 decision in Biden v. Missouri dissolved a preliminary injunction against enforcement of an interim final rule (“Rule”) promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requiring recipients of federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Continue Reading SCOTUS Permits CMS Health Care Vax Rule but Rejects OSHA Vax-or-Test ETS for Large Employers

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at the latest federal rules and guidance on vaccination policies, quarantine periods, and masking.

Continue Reading Video: SCOTUS Considers Federal Vaccine Mandates, CDC Shortens Quarantine Periods, Definition of “Fully Vaccinated” – Employment Law This Week

Ready for the “new normal”? Starting January 15, 2022, Boston’s “B-Together” Vaccine Mandate (“the mandate”) will require certain indoor establishments to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry from employees, contractors, and customers.

  1. The mandate applies only to indoor portions of certain commercial food services, gym and fitness settings, and entertainment/recreation facilities in Boston

“Indoor food services” means indoor portions of food service establishments offering food and drink including restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Fully enclosed “outdoor” areas are considered “indoor” under the policy. The mandate does not apply to open-air, outdoor areas, food service establishments offering food and/or drink exclusively for off-premises or outdoor consumption, or to food service establishments providing charitable food services, such as soup kitchens.

Continue Reading Five Fast Facts on Boston’s Indoor Vaccine Mandate