As we previously reported, effective today, masks must be worn in New York State in “all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.” On Friday, December 10, 2021, the State issued guidance on the measure, clarifying the following key points:
- Definition of indoor public place – An indoor public place is defined as “any indoor space that is not a private residence.” This includes indoor entertainment venues, concert halls, indoor sports stadiums, recreational spaces, restaurants, office buildings, shopping centers, grocery stores, pharmacies, and houses of worship.
- Offices must comply – This requirement applies to office spaces. If an office does not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, masks must be worn at all times regardless of vaccination status except when eating, drinking, or alone in an enclosed room.
- Inability to “mix and match” requirements – The guidance confirms that a business or venue must choose whether it will implement a vaccine requirement or a mask requirement for its patrons and employees, which must be followed in its entirety throughout the facility at all times each day.
- Interplay with existing COVID-19 protocols – The guidance confirms that employers must continue to comply with the HERO Act, as well as any locality-specific requirements (e.g., New York City’s “Key to NYC” program), in addition to complying with this latest mask mandate.
We will continue to monitor for new developments on this measure.