New York State Department of Health (DOH)

As New York State businesses begin to reopen – a process we have detailed here – Empire State employers will increasingly be required to make decisions with respect to returning employees to the workplace who were suspected or confirmed to be infected with, or exposed to, COVID-19. To assist the business community, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) recently published interim guidance for employers in this regard (the Interim Guidance). Critically, the Interim Guidance applies to all New York employers and employees (with the exception of health care or nursing home professionals) – regardless of their industry or phase of reopening, or whether they are or were considered an “essential” business. Below is a summary of the Interim Guidance.
Continue Reading Moving forward: New York State Department of Health issues new protocols for returning employees to the workplace following COVID-19 infection or exposure

As we detailed last week, on April 12, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order requiring all essential businesses to provide their employees with “face coverings” to be worn when the employees are “in direct contact with customers or members of the public.”  The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has now issued guidance clarifying and providing parameters for essential businesses seeking to comply with this mandate.  We will summarize the material facets of that guidance below.

What constitutes “face coverings” and “direct contact”?

To start, the DOH’s guidance clarifies that face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings (e.g., homemade sewn, quick cut, or bandana), surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields.  The guidance also refers employers to CDC materials concerning cloth face covers and other PPE, as well as instructions on use and cleaning.

In addition, the DOH’s guidance explains that individual employers may interpret the phrase “direct interaction with the public,” as used in Governor Cuomo’s executive order, as it relates to their specific workplaces.  Nevertheless, according to the DOH, such phrase, at a minimum, includes any employee who is routinely within close contact (i.e., six feet or less) with members of the public, including but not limited to customers or clients.Continue Reading New York issues guidance on face coverings for essential businesses