2.9.22 COVID-19 Bulletin: Hochul Ends Mask Mandate; Poloncarz Will Follow Suit
February 9, 2022
Today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she will NOT be renewing the state’s mask mandate, so the mandate will expire tomorrow.
The Governor’s announcement failed to proactively address how the removal of the mask mandate coincides with the NY HERO Act. On September 6th, Hochul triggered the HERO Act and has not yet deactivated it. The HERO Act required employees in many settings to wear masks, even before the statewide mask mandate was imposed.
The BNP has reached out to the Governor’s office for clarification on this question and will communicate any updates with you. Use the Department of Labor’s site, the BNP’s employer checklist, and the BNP’s HERO Act webinars for a refresher on what the HERO Act entails.
Hochul also noted that mask mandates remain in place in healthcare facilities, adult care and nursing homes, schools, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and public transit.
Hochul imposed the mandate in December after the Omicron variant sent cases skyrocketing. However, with declining case numbers, Hochul felt comfortable removing the mandate.
In Erie County, which imposed its own mask mandate before the state did, County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced on Twitter that the County will follow the state’s lead and repeal its mandate, effective tomorrow.
If your organization is short on COVID resources, the BNP is here to help. On February 16, the BNP is assisting Erie County with distributing a new supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Erie County businesses, free of charge. [past event - registration closed]
The BNP will keep you informed with any updates on COVID policy.
Update (2/10): The BNP got clarity from the Governor’s office on how this announcement coincides with the NY HERO Act. Learn more on our blog here.
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The BNP works closely with government leaders to keep them informed of employer challenges and to advocate for policy that would ease the workforce crisis. The BNP supports legislation that expands access to education and training, makes quality childcare more accessible, removes barriers to workforce participation, and reforms our immigration system to meet our region’s workforce needs.
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Yesterday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she would repeal the state’s mask mandate, effective today. However, her announcement did not proactively address how the repeal coincided with the NY HERO Act, which would have required employees in most workplaces to continue masking.