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21 Dec

December 2021: New York State Mask Mandate

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Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of New York.

What happened?
On December 10, 2021, Governor Hochul announced a new mandate requiring that masks be worn in indoor public spaces with some exceptions.

What are the details?
Effective since December 13, 2021, businesses are required to ensure that all staff and all patrons over the age of two must wear masks in all indoor public areas at all times with the exception that the business has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy.

This mandate appears to be generally consistent with the state’s employer obligations under the Health and Essential Rights (HERO) Act. Adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the purpose of the HERO Act is to protect workers against exposure and disease during an airborne infectious disease outbreak. It is unclear if the state will issue clarifying guidance.

Local health departments can enforce this mandate. Individuals, businesses, and venues that violate this mandate and the related guidance are subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 per violation.

For more information, please see the links below:


New York Proof of Vaccination or Mask Requirement FAQs

New York HERO Act

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and make immediate adjustments to their required mask policies to comply with the mandate.