The Empire State recently announced strict measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19 by individuals returning to New York from states experiencing a spike in cases.  Specifically, on June 24 Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 205 (EO 205), which requires individuals returning to New York from a state that meets either of the following conditions to quarantine for a period of 14 days:

  • a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or
  • higher than a 10 percent test positivity rate over a seven day rolling average.

This new order comes in the wake of a recent upsurge in cases around the country and currently covers travelers returning from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Texas.  However, it is expected that this list will continue to grow, as more states see an uptick of new cases.  Any violation of a required quarantine may be deemed a violation of EO 205, resulting in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

On the heels of EO 205, Governor Cuomo modified Executive Order 202.45 (EO 202.45) such that now employees who voluntarily travel to a state that meets either of the conditions outlined above, will not be eligible for New York’s paid sick leave for individuals quarantined due to COVID-19.  Previously, this restriction only applied to voluntary travel to countries for which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had issued a level two or three warning.  This exclusion does not apply to travel for work, or travel at the employer’s request.

Employers should clearly communicate these amendments to the law to all employees in order to promote compliance.  If you have any questions or concerns about these changes or how they affect your company, Reed Smith’s experienced Labor & Employment Group is ready to speak with you.