New York State Announces Proof of COVID-19 Vaccine or Masking Requirement for All Indoor Public Places
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that, effective December 13, 2021, masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places in New York State unless businesses or venues require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. The measure will remain in effect until January 15, 2022, after which time the State will re-evaluate based on current conditions.
The announcement provides that, “in accordance with CDC’s definition of fully vaccinated, full-course vaccination is defined as 14 days past an individual’s last vaccination dose in their initial vaccine series (14 days past the second shot of a two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine; 14 days past the one-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine).” World Health Organization-approved vaccines will also be acceptable for purposes of compliance. Businesses and venues that implement a proof of vaccination requirement can accept the New York State Excelsior Pass, Excelsior Pass Plus, SMART Health Cards issued outside of New York State, or a CDC Vaccination Card as acceptable proof. Children ages 2-5 who are presently ineligible for vaccination must wear a proper-fitting mask.
Businesses and venues that opt for a masking requirement “must ensure all patrons two years and older wear a mask at all times while indoors.” The announcement further states that “[u]nvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks in accordance with federal CDC guidance.”
With regard to enforcement, the announcement states that “[a] violation of any provision of this measure is subject to all civil and criminal penalties, including a maximum fine of $1,000 for each violation” and that “[l]ocal health departments are being asked to enforce these requirements.”