If you didn’t know this announcement was coming, I have a large box of masks made by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown I’ll sell you at a great price. (Santa said to stop picking on Gov. Brown or you’re going on the “naughty” list, one of the elves thinks her mask is really cool.) In addition to their incredibly generous gift of a mask mandate just in time for the holidays, NY Gov. Kathy Hochul and NY Commissioner of Health, Dr. Mary Bassett, again extended COVID’s “highly contagious” designation through at least January 15, 2022. That means employers must keep their HERO Act safety plans in place and active through at least January 15, 2022 as well.
As I previously wrote about in July, September, and October (I think you need to find something else to write about), the NY HERO Act is intended “to protect employees against exposure and disease during a future airborne infectious disease outbreak,” and is activated when the state’s health commissioner designates, in this case, COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. First activated on September 6, 2021, the HERO Act’s “activated” status has been extended for the third time, now through January 15, 2022. With that extension, employers must continue measures such as daily health screenings for all employees.
Further, Gov. Hochul’s mask mandate, effective December 13, 2021, requires all employees, customers, and visitors in all indoor public places—including office buildings and spaces—to wear a mask at all times, with very limited exceptions, unless the covered business or venue requires proof of vaccination from everyone before they enter. (How’s that working out so far?) Lastly, (you promise?) whether by design or coincidence (my money is on dumb luck), both the most recent extension of the HERO Act and the mask mandate are effective through January 15, 2022. I’m sure I can get another box of masks from Gov. Brown, so let me know you want to wager on whether they’ll be extended.
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