May 26, 2022

Volume XII, Number 146

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May 26, 2022

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New York State Court Strikes Down Statewide Mask or Vaccine Requirement for Indoor Public Places

On January 24, 2022, the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County struck down, effective immediately, the State’s COVID-19 mask-or-proof of vaccination requirement for indoor public places, holding that the State Department of Health did not have the legal authority to implement the regulation without the approval of the State legislature.  A hearing before the New York State Appellate Division on a request for stay of the Nassau County court’s ruling has been scheduled for January 25, 2022 and we will provide updates on further developments.

As we originally reported, the now overturned directive took effect on December 15, 2021, through a rule promulgated by the State Commissioner of Health.  Under the directive, all indoor public places were ordered to require masks to be worn by all individuals regardless of vaccination status unless the business or venue required proof of full COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entry. The order was initially effective through January 15, 2022, however Governor Kathy Hochul later extended it through February 1, 2022.

The state court’s ruling has no effect on local mask requirements, including the New York City mask order for schools.  Further, pursuant to the New York State HERO Act, where not all individuals on premises, including but not limited to employees, are fully vaccinated, employers must require employees wear appropriate face coverings in accordance with guidance from the New York State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as applicable.

We will continue to monitor and report on further developments with regard to this ruling and statewide COVID-19 requirements.

© 2022 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 25
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About this Author

Steven D Hurd, Employment arbitrator Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Partner

Steven D. Hurd is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Practice Group and Media & Entertainment Industry Group.

For nearly 20 years, Steve’s practice has been concentrated in the area of employment litigation. He provides advice to clients concerning litigation avoidance, litigation strategy, and alternative forms of dispute resolution. Steve has extensive trial and appellate experience, in both federal and state courts focusing on claims of alleged individual and...

212-969-3985
Evandro Gigante Labor and Employment Lawyer Proskauer Rose Law FIrm
Partner

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of sexual harassment, race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force, employee relations issues and other sensitive employment matters.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment claims,...

212.969.3132
Laura M. Fant, Labor & Employment Attorney, Proskauer Law Firm
Associate

Laura M. Fant is an Associate in the Labor & Employment Department, resident in the New York office. She is a member of the Accessibility and Accommodations Practice Group, and frequently counsels on matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state public accommodation law, as well as disability accommodation in the workplace. She has experience conducting accessibility audits and providing ADA and accessibility training for clients in a variety of sectors, including retail, sports, and not-for-profit. Her practice also focuses on wage and hour...

212-969-3631
Law Clerk

Rebecca Fishbein is a law clerk in the Labor & Employment Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group.

212-969-3128
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