On Monday September 6, 2021, Gov. Hochul announced that the resurgence in COVID-19 cases requires the implementation of the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans, as required by the NY HEROS Act. The HEROS Act required all employers by August 5, 2021, to develop a compliant plan. However the plans were dormant pending a Commissioner of Health declaration which has now been issued. (For more information on the NY HEROS Act, see the July 19th article.)
Plans are now required to be actively implemented until September 30, 2021. It is expected that a decision on whether to extend implementation will be made at this date.
At this time, all employers must now conduct a verbal review of the plan with all of their employees, as well as provide a copy of the plan to them. The verbal review must include a discussion of:
Employee rights under NYS Labor Law
The company’s airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan
The NY HEROS Act also requires all employees to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the beginning of each workday. In addition, face coverings must be provided, at no cost, to employees and must be worn in the workplace when physical distancing is not possible.
Companies are required to provide handwashing facilities and/or hand sanitizer in addition to following their sanitation procedures for cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace. All applicable procedures regarding testing, isolation, and quarantine must be followed before allowing symptomatic or infected employees to return to work.