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What Are The Mask Rules For New York Businesses?

Peter J. Weishaar Author Photo
Peter J. Weishaar
May 19, 2021
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On Monday, May 17, 2021, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.108.  Among other things, this Order lifted most occupancy limits, and extended and modified the Statewide mask requirements such that as of May 19, 2021, individuals who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear a mask while indoors except in certain settings. 

Unvaccinated individuals over the age of two are still required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face covering when in a public place. 

How does this impact businesses?

When businesses were permitted to open under the phased reopening plan, they were required to comply with interim guidance, including the preparation of a written safety plan.  The interim guidance included a number of requirements, including screening, masking, and physical distancing.  Earlier today, the State issued new guidance implementing the latest CDC recommendations. 

According to the latest New York Guidance, businesses may continue to require social distancing and masks for all individuals, including employees and/or patrons.  However, businesses may instead decide to adhere to the latest CDC guidelines:

  • Unvaccinated individuals: Require 6 feet of social distancing and wear masks in most settings.
  • Vaccinated individuals: No social distancing or masks required, except in certain settings.

Businesses that do not congregate patrons and/or that operate below the social gathering limit may rely upon self-reporting of vaccination status (i.e., the honor system).  However, businesses that congregate patrons and operate above the social gathering limit must require proof of vaccination via:

  • Paper form;
  • Digital application; or
  • New York State’s Excelsior Pass.

The State issued a two-page fact sheet on the new guidelines, which can be accessed here

What about the other requirements imposed when businesses were permitted to reopen? 

For now, it looks like the other requirements still apply.  The State’s industry-specific guidelines remain in effect, although at the time of this writing, the links to many of those guidelines on the New York Forward page did not work.  Thus, it would appear that the State is working to update those guidelines.  By the time you read this, the guidelines applicable to your business may have been updated, and we will provide an update when we know more.  You may also check the New York Forward website directly for the latest information. 

UPDATE:  As you have probably already heard, many of the COVID restrictions were lifted when New York surpassed 70% of adults with at least one vaccine. You may also check the New York Forward website directly for the latest information. 

If you would like to schedule a consultation to talk about how this may impact your business,  please feel free to contact Peter Weishaar at or 585.512.3542.

Amy’s employment practice includes advising business clients in regard to various employment-related matters including hiring and firing, wage and hour issues, employment agreements, non-compete agreements and the preparation of employee handbooks.

Peter's employment practice includes the representation of businesses and individuals in matters involving restrictive covenants, non-compete agreements, discrimination, failure to pay wages in State and Federal Courts, and before administrative agencies, including the New York State Division of Human Rights and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.