New York State has released guidance in conjunction with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement that New York is adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s interim recommendations for fully vaccinated people. Effective May 19, businesses, including offices, are authorized to require masks and six feet of social distancing for employees and/or patrons within their establishments, OR they can adhere to CDC guidance advising that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks or be socially distanced, but unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks and be socially distanced in most settings. Based on GNYHA’s communications with the State, this guidance applies to all buildings or spaces owned or operated by hospitals solely for the purposes of non-clinical, office-based work, e.g., a floor within a hospital that is dedicated to administrative functions.
Businesses, including offices, that do not congregate patrons and/or that operate below the 250-person indoor limit may require proof of vaccination status or rely upon self-reporting of vaccination status to determine who is required to wear masks and be socially distanced. Businesses may apply the guidance to the entire establishment or a separate, designated part of the establishment. Business capacity is only limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance.
The guidance also contains requirements for businesses that congregate patrons and operate above the 250-person indoor limit. GNYHA is seeking clarification from the State on how the following requirements may apply to hospitals holding large gatherings above the 250-person indoor limit, e.g., graduation ceremonies and conferences. Such businesses’ capacity is only limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain distance. (Unvaccinated individuals and those whose vaccination status is unknown must be spaced six feet apart in assigned sections.) Masks are required indoors, except while seated and eating or drinking. For indoor events above the gathering limit, attendees over the age of four who do not present proof of full vaccination status must instead present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result (i.e., polymerase chain reaction/nucleic acid amplification testing within 72 hours or antigen testing within six hours prior to admission). Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to be socially distanced in assigned sections, and masks are optional. Businesses seeking to implement fully vaccinated sections—eliminating social distancing and increasing capacity—must require proof of vaccination status and cannot rely upon self-reporting of vaccination status (e.g., honor system). Businesses can operate at up to 100% capacity so long as all attendees are fully vaccinated, consistent with all applicable Federal and State laws and regulations.
The State may update industry-specific guidance in the future.