NYC Takes Center Stage as the First City to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination for Private Employers

As federal vaccine mandates are currently stayed pending the outcome of litigation in federal courts, on December 6, 2021 the outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a first-in-the-nation COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private-sector workplaces. The mandate, which will take effect on December 27, will apply to roughly 184,000 businesses spread over the City’s five boroughs. With the December 27 deadline approaching, here’s what New York City employers need to know to get in compliance quickly.

What Are the General Requirements under the New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate?

On December 13, the New York City health commissioner issued an order to require COVID-19 vaccination in the workplace, which was implemented by Mayor de Blasio’s Emergency Executive Order, and followed by additional guidance on the NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Workplace Requirement, a list of Frequently Asked Questions and a compliance checklist Flyer for Business Owners issued by the New York City Department of Health.

Beginning December 27, workers in New York City who perform in-person work or interact with the public in the course of business must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Workers then have 45 days to show proof of their second dose (for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) by February 10, 2022.

Businesses must exclude from the workplace any worker who has not provided such proof of vaccination against COVID-19, unless an exemption due to a religious or medical accommodation applies, or a worker only ever enters the workplace for a quick and limited purpose (i.e., using the restroom, making a delivery, or clocking in and receiving an assignment before leaving to begin a solitary assignment).

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