New York State Indoor Mask Mandate Lifted and NY HERO Act Safety Plan Template Revised

February 11, 2022

On February 9, 2022, Governor Hochul announced that the statewide indoor business mask-or-vaccine requirement will be lifted for most businesses starting Thursday, February 10, 2022. As reported in our prior alert, the requirement was a temporary measure implemented in December 2021 to address the winter surge and Omicron variant.

New York State’s mask requirement will remain, however, for certain settings, including health care settings regulated by the state, nursing homes, adult care facilities, correctional facilities, detention centers, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and public transit and transportation hubs.

Governor Hochul further explained that for businesses that are no longer subject to the statewide mandate, mask-or-vaccine requirements will remain optional for businesses, local governments and counties to enforce. Local requirements, such as the NYC vaccination mandate for private workers and the Key to NYC requirements, are not affected.

Concurrently with the Governor’s announcement, New York State has also revised Section II.A.4 of the NY HERO Act Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, which concerns face coverings:

Effective February 10, 2022: Employees will wear appropriate face coverings in accordance with guidance from State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as applicable. Consistent with the guidance from the State Department of Health, if indoor areas do not have a mask or vaccine requirement as a condition of entry, appropriate face coverings are recommended, but not required. It is also recommended that face coverings be worn by unvaccinated individuals, including those with medical exemptions, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. Further, the State’s masking requirements continue to be in effect for pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, health care, child care, group homes, and other sensitive settings in accordance with CDC guidelines. New York State and the State Department of Health continue to strongly recommend face coverings in all public indoor settings as an added layer of protection, even when not required.”

If the Commissioner extends the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease pursuant to the NY HERO Act beyond February 15, 2022, employers should consider revising their NY HERO plans, consistent with this new Section II.A.4.

Governor Hochul’s announcement is available here:,venues%20implement%20a%20vaccine%20requirement.

The updated NY HERO template is available here:

Please contact a member of Herrick’s Employment Group with any questions.

Carol M. Goodman at +1 212 592 1465 or [email protected]
Meaghan Roe at +1 212 592 1632 or [email protected]

© 2022 Herrick, Feinstein LLP. This alert is provided by Herrick, Feinstein LLP to keep its clients and other interested parties informed of current legal developments that may affect or otherwise be of interest to them. The information is not intended as legal advice or legal opinion and should not be construed as such.