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New Workplace Mask Mandate Starts Today

New Workplace Mask Mandate Starts Today

Starting today, December 13, 2021, NYS law requires that all employees and clients of a business must wear a mask while indoors, at all times, regardless of vaccination status. The exceptions are when eating, drinking, or alone in an enclosed room, OR if the business implements a sweeping vaccine requirement.

A temporary measure—effective through January 15, 2022, at which time the State will re-evaluate its next steps—masks are required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.

"Indoor public place" is defined as any indoor space that is not a private residence. This includes office spaces, stores, shopping centers, eateries, grocery stores, entertainment and recreational venues, houses of worship, and others.

More information can be found on the State's dedicated FAQ page.

In businesses such as offices, everyone must wear masks at all times regardless of vaccination status except when eating, drinking, or alone in an enclosed room such as a private office.

Alternatively, a business can require proof of full vaccination for everyone entering the office, applicable to all employees, clients, and other visitors. In such a case, the mask mandate is waived (though still recommended).

Note that there is no "mix & match" option—the business must either require proof of vaccination for all or ensure that everyone is wearing a mask at all times. Contrary to what has been misreported in some press, individual employees or customers who are fully vaccinated must still wear a mask unless the business requires proof of full vaccination in order to enter the premises.

Also note that this measure is temporary, and will be reevaluated in one month's time, on Jan. 15. 

Lastly, in NYC, children ages 5-11 must show proof of at least one dose of a vaccine to participate in public indoor activities, beginning tomorrow, Dec. 14. Beginning Dec. 27, people 12 and older must show proof of two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to work in or participate in public indoor activities. See our previous post for more information.

We'll update you with more information as it becomes available.