New York State Lifts COVID-19 Restrictions for Restaurants and Most Industries | Fox Rothschild LLP

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on June 15, 2021 that New York State’s COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines would immediately be lifted across all commercial industries in the state, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs. As a result, commercial establishments will no longer have to follow the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place for 15 months.

According to the governor ad, state restrictions on social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and collection of contact details for tracing are no longer mandatory. As a result, restaurants will no longer need, for example, to take the temperature of guests or employees, maintain a distance between tables or erect physical barriers separating guests, or close areas for cleaning. and thorough disinfection if the restaurant learns of an employee or customer testing positive for COVID-19.

Unvaccinated people “continue to be responsible for wearing masks,” according to the governor’s announcement. The governor’s announcement, however, places no responsibility on companies to ensure that unvaccinated people wear masks – only the responsibility of the individuals themselves. It remains to be seen whether new state guidelines will be released, but for now, most companies are not required to enforce the mask guidelines.

New York’s COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions remain in place for a limited number of industries, including large-scale indoor event venues, K-12 schools, public transportation, shelters for homeless people, correctional facilities, nursing homes and health care facilities by CDC Guidelines.

Large-scale indoor event venues, now defined as indoor venues that can accommodate over 5,000 attendees, can operate at full capacity without social distancing requirements if all attendees provide proof of vaccination or a recent COVID-19 test negative. Participants who have not been vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown should continue to wear masks at the site.

Businesses can voluntarily continue to follow previous state COVID-19 guidelines or implement their own health precautions for employees, customers and guests. Companies may also require their employees and customers to wear masks and / or observe social distancing regardless of their immunization status. Any requirements that businesses may choose to implement must comply with all relevant federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and New State human rights laws. York and New York City.

If restaurants and other businesses choose to eliminate mandatory mask policies for their employees, they should allow employees to wear masks if those employees are not vaccinated, or if the employee can require the use of a mask. as reasonable accommodation for a disability. In particular, OSHA has updated its COVID-19 Tips to declare that employers (except in the healthcare sector) no longer need to take action to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19 if all employees have been vaccinated. However, employers still have an obligation to take steps to protect unvaccinated or at-risk employees in the workplace from COVID-19. OSHA recommends that employers continue to provide face coverings to employees who are not vaccinated or at risk and that these employees wear face coverings in the workplace.

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