Legal Update

Nov 1, 2021

NY HERO Act Update: COVID Designation Extended Again

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The New York Commissioner of Health once again extended the designation of COVID-19 as highly contagious, thereby requiring employers to keep their safety plans activated through at least December 15, 2021. 

As previously reported (here and here), New York State’s health commissioner has designated COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health, thus requiring employers to activate their safety plans under the NY HERO Act.  The initial designation lasted through September 30, 2021.  The health commissioner later extended the designation through October 31, 2021 pending a review of the level of COVID-19 transmission at that time. 

The commissioner has now again issued a revised designation under the NY HERO Act.  This means that employers must continue implementing their respective Disease Exposure Prevention Plan through December 15, 2021, at which time the commissioner will decide whether to extend the designation further. 

Therefore, employers must continue to implement the various disease-prevention measures under the HERO Act, including daily health screenings and masking for workplaces where all individuals on premises are not fully-vaccinated, among other requirements.

Finally, as a reminder, effective November 1, 2021, Section 2 of the HERO Act requires employers to permit employees to form a joint labor-management workplace safety committee with employee- and employer-designees.  As of this writing, the Department of Labor has not issued guidance regarding such committees, despite its assurances otherwise.

Seyfarth will continue to monitor developments in this space and provide updates when available.