12.10.21 COVID-19 Bulletin: Hochul Imposes Statewide Mask Mandate
December 10, 2021
This morning, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she is imposing a mask mandate for all indoor public settings in New York State, effective Monday.
The mandate comes with one notable exception: venues that require proof of vaccination for entry do not have to require masks.
Hochul said she will reassess the state’s COVID-19 status on January 15. However, businesses can expect this mandate to remain in place until then.
Hochul is asking local health departments to enforce the mandate, and violations can be met with fines.
The policy mirrors a mandate issued by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz last month. Hochul’s announcement will not change much for businesses in Erie County, but those in surrounding counties should take note. In Poloncarz’s announcement, he said he would reassess the county’s progress on December 13 to determine if additional restrictions were warranted. It is unclear at this time whether Poloncarz or Hochul will implement additional restrictions.
The BNP remains in contact with our leaders and has urged them to eschew restrictions that would hinder our regional economy.
The BNP will keep you informed as the State Department of Health finalizes policy details.
Update (12/10 3:28pm): The NYS Department of Health released formal guidance on this ruling, available here. Notably, the document defines “indoor public place” as “any indoor space that is not
a private residence.”
Update (12/13 8:37am): The state recently released a list of frequently asked questions on this mandate, available here.
This Wednesday, December 15, the BNP will host a webisode with the Employer Services Corporation (ESC) on the details of the new mandate. The presentation will provide a higher level of clarity for the business community and the opportunity to ask specific questions on behalf of your business.
BNP has stepped in to assist the City of Buffalo in their efforts to organize the generous support offered by the business community. Updated 5.20.22 With the establishment of the two funds described below, interested donors are encouraged to contact the appropriate fund directly to provide support.
Without fanfare, the New York State Department of Labor updated its website to announce the relaxation of some NY HERO Act provisions. Employers can now forego enforcing their workplace safety plans.
Governor Kathy Hochul has issued an Executive Order extending New York’s state of emergency declaration for COVID-19. The state of emergency was scheduled to expire today, but Hochul extended the declaration through April 15.
A new report from the Empire Center for Public Policy details how expensive a single payer healthcare system would be in New York. The full report is available here.