On September 9, 2021, the White House released a memorandum titled “Path Out of the Pandemic,” which detailed President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan.  The memorandum contains six priorities for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, including a requirement that all employers with 100 or more employees must implement a vaccine mandate and/or require weekly testing of unvaccinated workers.

Continue Reading President Biden and OSHA to Require Vaccine Mandate or Weekly Testing for Employers with 100+ Employees

On September 6, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that COVID-19 has been designated as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”). At the time of the publication of this article, the Commissioner of Health’s designation is only effective until September 30, 2021. On September 30, the Commissioner will review the level of COVID-19 transmission in the state and make a further determination.

Continue Reading NY HERO Act Plans Must Be Activated as COVID-19 Designated a Highly Contagious Communicable Disease

On August 13, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) updated its “Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”  The updated guidance, which does not apply to healthcare workplace settings covered by OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, reflects recent changes to the guidance for fully vaccinated individuals published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) on July 27, 2021.  Among the updates discussed below, the most notable changes are the modified recommendations for fully vaccinated employees.  OSHA advises that employers should use the guidance to ensure they protect unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement.

Continue Reading OSHA Updates COVID-19 Guidance to Align With Recently Updated CDC Guidance

What a difference three months makes.  In May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced that fully vaccinated individuals could forgo masks and social distancing requirements in most indoor and outdoor locations.  At that time, the Alpha variant was not all that transmissible in the fully vaccinated, and millions of vaccine shots were doled out each day.  But now, with the increasing spread of the transmissible Delta variant, the CDC has updated its guidance to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.

Continue Reading Return of the Mask: CDC Issues New Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

As we previously reported, on May 5, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”) into law.  On July 6, 2021 the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) published its Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard (the “Standard”), a General Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, and several Industry Specific Model Exposure Prevention Plans (“Model Plan” or Model Plans”) as required by the HERO Act.

Continue Reading New Health and Safety Obligations Established as NYSDOL Publishes Its Standard and Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Plan Required by NY HERO Act

On June 21, 2021, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) new COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) went into effect.
Continue Reading New U.S. DOL Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare Workers

On June 17, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to adopt revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), and Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order allowing the revised ETS to go into effect immediately.  The revised ETS now applies to nearly all workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Finally Enacts Revised Emergency Temporary Standards

This week, both houses of the New York state legislature passed a package of amendments (the “Amendments”) to the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”) designed to clarify, modify, and delay implementation of certain provisions of the Act.
Continue Reading NY HERO Act Requirements Significantly Modified as Amendments Pass New York Legislature

UPDATE:  At its June 9, 2021, special meeting, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to withdraw the revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that had been approved at its June 3rd meeting, and were set to go into effect on June 15th.  Instead, Cal/OSHA indicated that it will further consider the recent guidance from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health with respect to face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals.  For now, the original ETS that has been effective since November of 2020 will remain in place.  The Standards Board will convene to consider potential further revisions at a future meeting, perhaps as early as its next scheduled meeting on June 17th.   Stay tuned for further updates.

After several fits and starts, on June 3, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board finally passed revised Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that now take into account employee vaccination status and loosening restrictions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California’s elimination of the colored Tier system.  The revised ETS will go into effect on June 15, 2021 and creates additional employer obligations beginning on July 31, 2021.  The Cal/OSHA Standards Board has indicated that it will convene a subcommittee to consider further revisions in the coming months.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Approves Revised Emergency Temporary Standards

UPDATE:  At its May 20, 2021, meeting, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board agreed to table its vote on the proposed revised Emergency Temporary Standards to allow Division staff time to draft potential revisions that would more closely align Cal/OSHA’s requirements with the CDC’s latest guidance concerning face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals.  Proposed draft revisions will be posted by May 28, 2021, and that draft will come up for a vote on June 3, 2021.  If approved, the revised ETS would become effective on June 15, 2021.  We will provide further details as they arise.

Prompted by increased availability of vaccine appointments, and broad eligibility for all U.S. adults and teenagers, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) have loosened restrictions with respect to fully vaccinated individuals, defined as those who are two weeks past their final required vaccination dose (second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, or single dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine).  Cal/OSHA now proposes to align itself with this guidance through proposed revisions to its Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), which have been effective since November of 2020, just prior to the pandemic’s winter peak.
Continue Reading Significant Updates to Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards on the Horizon

On April 23, 2021, the New York state legislature delivered a copy of the Health and Essential Rights Act (the “HERO Act” or the “Act”) to Governor Andrew Cuomo for
Continue Reading Governor to Consider Significant New Health and Safety Obligations as NY HERO Act Passes State Legislature