Governor Hochul Lifts New York State Indoor Mask Mandate
On February 9, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate will expire on February 10, 2022. Governor Hochul noted that while the statewide mandate has been lifted, counties, cities, and individual business can elect to continue to voluntarily enforce the mandate or put in place their own masking or other COVID-19 requirements.
As we have previously reported, under the mandate, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, were required to wear a mask in all indoor public places in New York State unless the business or venue required proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of entry.
While the broader statewide indoor mask mandate has been lifted, certain settings will still require all individuals to wear a mask including state-regulated health care settings, adult care facilities and nursing homes; schools and childcare centers (though Governor Hochul indicated that school masking requirements will be reevaluated in early March); correctional facilities; shelters; and public transportation (buses, trains, airports, etc.).
With lifting the statewide indoor mask mandate, New York joins New Jersey and Connecticut in easing mask requirements. New Jersey does not require masks for most indoor workplaces and has recently announced that it will lift its school mask mandate March 7, 2022. Connecticut continues to require only unvaccinated individuals wear masks indoors, but has also recently announced that its school mask mandate will be lifted February 28, 2022.
Businesses should consult their local health department guidance to ensure full compliance with COVID-19 requirements.