Specifically, masks must be worn in schools, childcare settings, government buildings, businesses and restaurants. The reinstated mask mandate does not require proof of vaccines or COVID-19 test results for businesses that serve food or drink. The city’s Health Commissioner noted that businesses may choose to be mask-free if they require all employees and visitors to provide proof of vaccination.
The city reinstated the mask mandate as COVID-19 cases have increased over 50% in the previous 10 days. As discussed in a previously issued client alert, the city’s Department of Health created a benchmark system using case numbers and positive test rates to measure accurately and respond to case spikes appropriately. Under the city’s benchmark system, masks are required indoors if two or more of the following are true: (i) average new cases per day are less than 225; (ii) hospitalizations are less than 100; or (iii) cases have increased by more than 50% in the previous 10 days. On Monday, April 11, 2022, the city announced that COVID-19 cases averaged 142 per day, hospitalizations from COVID-19 were 44, and COVID-19 cases increased by more than 50% in the previous 10 days.
Employers should begin implementing action steps to ensure compliance with the reinstated mask mandate. Such action steps include: (i) reviewing any prior company policies relating to previous mask mandates; (ii) notifying and communicating to your employees any changes or requirements of the workplace’s masking requirements; and (iii) implementing and adopting procedures for ensuring that any customers, clients or guests comply with the city’s reinstated mask mandate.
The regulations concerning COVID-19 and the workplace are complicated and constantly in flux. If you have any questions about this or any other workplace issues, please contact one of Klehr Harrison’s labor and employment attorneys.