On December 6, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, effective December 27, 2021, private sector employers must require that all of their employees who work in New York City receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
Mayor de Blasio did not provide significant detail regarding the widespread mandate, but indicated that New York City will be releasing guidance by December 15, 2021. Based on Mayor de Blasio's statement, we expect that the mandate will apply to all private employers in New York City regardless of size.
Mayor de Blasio also announced two major expansions to the Key to NYC Pass that was issued in August 2021 (see our prior advisory on this law). First, effective December 14, 2021, all children ages 5-11 must show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination in order to access indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment venues. Previously, the law exempted children under age 12 from any vaccination requirement.
Second, effective December 27, 2021, everyone 12 and older must show proof of full vaccination (i.e., two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) to enter the aforementioned indoor facilities. Previously, the law stated that children ages 12-17 were required to show proof of one dose of a vaccine.
Although we anticipate that the new mandate will be challenged in the courts, all employers must begin to take action to ensure compliance with the new mandate by December 27, 2021. Specifically, employers should notify their employees of Mayor de Blasio's order so that unvaccinated individuals have sufficient time to schedule a vaccination appointment by the December 27, 2021 deadline.
Furthermore, employers should ensure that they provide appropriate paid leave to employees receiving vaccinations in accordance with the March 2021 amendments to the New York Labor Law (see our prior advisory on this law). Moreover, employers should instruct employees to submit proof of vaccinations promptly, and take precautions to maintain those records as confidential employee medical information.
We will continue to monitor these developments and will publish follow up advisories as New York City provides further guidance on this new mandate.
The facts, laws, and regulations regarding COVID-19 are developing rapidly. Since the date of publication, there may be new or additional information not referenced in this advisory. Please consult with your legal counsel for guidance.
DWT will continue to provide up-to-date insights and virtual events regarding COVID-19 concerns. Our most recent insights, as well as information about recorded and upcoming virtual events, are available at www.dwt.com/COVID-19.