In an executive order signed last weekend, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered that, for all “essential” businesses or entities, any employees present in the workplace must wear “face coverings” when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. The order provides that the businesses must provide such face coverings to employees at the business’s own expense. Notably, the order does not require employers to provide medical-grade masks or respirators. Instead, its use of the term “face coverings” seems consistent with a recent advisory from the New York Department of Health, which supports the use of “cloth face coverings” by members of the public and strongly advises that surgical masks and N-95 respirators be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
The order may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement under the New York Public Health Law, which provides for fines and other penalties in the event of violations.
The order takes effect on Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.