By Robert S. Whitman and Amanda Williams

Seyfarth Synopsis: The New York Commissioner of Health has declined to extend the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease under the NY HERO Act. Employers are no longer required to activate their safety plans.

As previously reported (most recently here), the New York State Commissioner of Health, on September 6, 2021, designated COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health in New York State.” This required employers to activate their safety plans under the NY HERO Act. Since then, the designation has been extended five times, with the latest extension having expired on March 17, 2022.

With COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates decreasing, and following the lifting of the HERO Act mask mandate and other preventative measures in New York (as reported here), the Health Commissioner has now allowed the designation to expire.

Thus, effective March 18, 2022, employers are no longer required to implement their Disease Exposure Prevention Plan under the HERO Act, including daily health screenings and other requirements.  Employers must continue to maintain their safety plans in the event of a later designation, but no longer need to activate them.

Seyfarth will continue to monitor developments in this space and provide updates when available.