Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

21 Dec

December 2021: New York City Issues Vaccine Mandate Despite the Federal Court of Appeal’s Hold on OSHA’s ETS

Posted at



Update Applicable to:
All employers in New York City.

What happened?
On December 6, 2021, Mayor de Blasio of New York City announced expansions to the “Key to NYC” program that will require businesses to enforce a much stricter vaccine mandate for both workers and customers.

What are the details?
On August 20, 2021, the “Key to NYC” program was put into effect by Mayor de Blasio requiring that patrons and employees of certain indoor entertainment, recreation, dining, and fitness establishments prove that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter the establishment.  There is no “testing out” option under the Key to NYC Pass.

Beginning December 27, 2021, private-sector workers in New York City who perform in-person work or interact with the public in the course of business must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Workers will then have 45 days to show proof of their second dose (for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines).

Businesses may not allow any unvaccinated workers to come to their workplaces. A workplace is considered any location—including a vehicle—where you work in the presence of at least one other person. Testing will not be available as an alternative to vaccination.

Employers should still implement a process for employees to request a reasonable accommodation if they are unable to be vaccinated because of a disability, pregnancy, religious beliefs, or the employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sex offenses. However, employers will not need to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee if doing so would cause a significant risk of substantial harm to the health and safety of other employees or customers or would otherwise impose an undue hardship on the business.

In addition, effective since December 14, 2021, children ages five to 11 must also show proof of vaccination and by January 28, 2022, must show proof of full vaccination unless they received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. On December 27, 2021, people 12 and older participating in any public indoor activities will be required to show proof they have received two vaccine doses, except for those who have received the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

For more information, please see the links below:

Mayor de Blasio’s Announcement

Vaccination Requirement: Workplaces

Vaccination Requirement: Indoor Public Activities (Key to NYC)

Proofs of vaccination that are accepted for Key to NYC

Key to NYC Program

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above, adjust their COVID-19 vaccine and mask policies for employees and customers, and prepare to provide reasonable accommodations for vaccine-exempt employees.