***UPDATE: On February 15, 2022, the New York State Commissioner of Health continued the designation of COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease” pursuant to the HERO Act until March 17, 2022. According to the designation, on March 17, the Commissioner “will review the level of transmission of COVID-19 in New York State and determine whether to continue this designation.” A copy of the designation is available here.***

On Monday, September 6, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Commissioner of Health has designated COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” under the New York State HERO Act. As we previously reported, the HERO Act requires all employers in New York to implement certain safety standards and adopt a prevention plan to protect against the spread of airborne infectious diseases in the workplace. Now that COVID-19 has received such a designation, employers across the state must now “promptly” take certain steps to activate their plans and ensure compliance.

According to the Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard, once such as designation is made, each employer must:

  1. Immediately review the worksite’s exposure prevention plan and update the plan, if necessary, to ensure that it incorporates current information, guidance, and mandatory requirements;
  2. Finalize and promptly activate the worksite exposure prevention plan;
  3. Provide a verbal review of the plan; and
  4. Provide each employee with a copy of the exposure prevention plan, post a copy of the plan in a visible and prominent location at each worksite, and ensure that a copy is accessible to employees during all shifts.

While the designation remains in effect, each employer shall ensure that the plan is followed by:

  1. Assigning enforcement responsibilities to one or more supervisory employees;
  2. Monitoring and maintaining exposure controls; and
  3. Regularly checking for updated information from the New York State Department of Health and CDC, and updating the plan as necessary.

The designation will remain in effect until September 30, at which time, the Commissioner of Health will review the level of COVID-19 transmission in New York State and determine whether to continue the designation. We are closely monitoring for developments from the State and will provide updates as they become available.

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Proskauer’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Response Team is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures, practical steps businesses can take and resources to help manage ongoing operations.

Photo of Evandro Gigante Evandro Gigante

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of…

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation and breach of contract. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force and advises clients on restrictive covenant issues, such as confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicit agreements.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment matters, Evandro has extensive experience representing clients before federal and state courts. He has tried cases in court and before arbitrators and routinely represents clients before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as state and local human rights commissions.

Photo of Steven Hurd Steven Hurd

Steve has extensive trial and appellate experience, in both federal and state courts focusing on claims of alleged individual and class discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour violations, FINRA, whistleblowing and retaliation, defamation, fraud, breach of contract, wrongful discharge and other statutory and…

Steve has extensive trial and appellate experience, in both federal and state courts focusing on claims of alleged individual and class discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour violations, FINRA, whistleblowing and retaliation, defamation, fraud, breach of contract, wrongful discharge and other statutory and common law claims. Steve also advises clients on employment litigation avoidance, litigation strategy and alternative forms of dispute resolution.

Steve is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Practice Group and Media & Entertainment Industry Group.

Steve helps his clients stay in compliance with the ever-changing employment regulations with respect to FLSA and state law wage and hour requirements by providing advice and conducting comprehensive audits. Steve conducts investigations pertaining to reductions-in-force and individual employee terminations, and claims of gender, race, national origin, and disability discrimination.

Photo of Laura M. Fant Laura M. Fant

Laura Fant is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department.

She frequently counsels on matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act, including disability accommodation in the workplace and public accommodations. She is experienced…

Laura Fant is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department.

She frequently counsels on matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act, including disability accommodation in the workplace and public accommodations. She is experienced in conducting accessibility audits and providing ADA and accessibility training for clients in a variety of sectors that include retail, hospitality, sports and not-for-profit. She also handles general employment counseling and has experience in reviewing and updating employee handbooks and company policies under federal and state law.