On August 3, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to require both workers and customers to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to participate in indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment. Individuals will be able to provide proof of vaccination status using a “Key to NYC” pass that may allow use of a vaccination card, the COVIDSafe app, or the New York State Excelsior Pass app.

Details of the plan will be announced the week of August 16, 2021.  The City plans to issue both a mayoral executive order and a Health Commissioner order. The City will begin inspections and enforcement of its plan on September 13, 2021.

New York is the first city in the nation to require mandatory vaccination for all indoor activities.  Please reach out to legal counsel if you have any questions.

The City and County of Denver issued an Order on August 2, 2021, requiring personnel of the following entities, or types of entities, to be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021:

  • the City and County of Denver;
  • care facilities;
  • hospitals;
  • clinical settings;
  • limited healthcare settings;
  • shelters for people experiencing homelessness, including day and overnight shelters;
  • correctional facilities, including jails, detention centers and community corrections sites and residences;
  • schools, including post-secondary and higher education;
  • childcare centers and services;
  • any entity providing home care to patients; and
  • any entity providing first responder services.

Continue Reading Denver City and County Ordering Certain Businesses to Ensure Employees are Fully Vaccinated

Seven Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley issued Health Orders mandating mask use for indoor public spaces such as places of work. The Orders apply to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. However, the Orders provide exceptions for individuals working alone in a closed office space, individuals that are eating or drinking, and individuals specifically exempted by the California Department of Public Health guidance such as individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask. The indoor mask mandates are effective August 3, 2021 and will continue to be in effect until rescinded. If your company has business in any of these locations, please review each applicable order for detailed information.

Note that in the workplace, workers must also follow Cal/OSHA mask requirements. Please consult with legal counsel for questions related to the Health Orders or Cal/OSHA.

The links to the relevant Health Orders are included below: Continue Reading Bay Area Counties Issue Indoor Mask Orders Effective August 3, 2021

Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome, colloquially referred to as long COVID-19, occurs when an individual who had COVID-19 continues to experience ongoing symptoms for months afterward. Individuals with long COVID-19 might have difficulty working in the same way they did before and may be entitled to workplace accommodations so they can do their job. Even if these employees do not think of themselves as having a disability, they may meet the Americans with Disabilities Act definition.

Under the ADA, an employee is entitled to accommodations if they meet the definition of an individual with a disability and are qualified for the job with the reasonable accommodation. An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Whether a particular condition is a disability as defined by the ADA requires a case-by-case determination. However, employers are free to provide accommodations even if someone doesn’t meet the definition of disability – and they must provide accommodations if they do meet it, absent undue hardship.

Continue Reading Still Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms Long After A Diagnosis? Employees May Be Entitled To Workplace Accommodations

According to a legal opinion posted online on July 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice officially took the position that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act—which authorizes an “emergency use authorization” for a vaccine—does not prohibit entities, including employers, from requiring a vaccine even if authorized for emergency use only. Read Full Update

On July 27, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) updated its mask guidance in response to the Delta variant of COVID-19.  The CDC now recommends fully vaccinated individuals to wear a mask indoors in public if in an area of substantial or high transmission.  For individuals who are not fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, the CDC’s guidance remains that individuals should wear a mask indoors in public spaces and in close proximity outdoor settings in high transmission areas.  Please note that individuals should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.  Further, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people “who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.” Companies should contact experienced counsel with any questions.

Seven Bay Area Counties– Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma—and the City of Berkley issued a press release on July 16, 2021 strongly recommending that everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places, including workplaces, to protect against the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19.  The use of masks is recommended for indoor settings such as grocery or retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers and workplaces (when you do not know everyone’s vaccination status).  Companies with employees who work in the Bay Area should contact experienced counsel with any questions.

As we updated just two weeks ago, Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health was strongly recommending that everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public places.  As of 11:59 pm on Saturday, July 17, 2021, the LA County Public Health Officer has ordered that everyone in Los Angeles County, regardless of their vaccination status, will once again be required to wear masks in indoor public settings and businesses to protect against the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19.  The masking requirement is regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. The order is found here.  Companies with employees who work within the County of Los Angeles should contact experienced counsel with any questions.

On March 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-31-20 (“EO N-31-20”) regarding the California WARN Act (Lab. Code §§ 1400, et seq.).  EO N-31-20 is often inaccurately described as suspension of the entire California WARN Act.  However, the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and the Employment Development Department clarified that EO N-31-20 only suspended the sixty (60) day notice requirement if an employer still provides written notice and satisfies other conditions. Importantly, EO N-31-20’s suspension of the sixty (60) day notice requirement expired on June 30, 2021 pursuant to paragraph 6 of Governor Newsom’s June 11, 2021 Executive Order N-08-21.  This means that the 60-day notice requirement will once again be effective for the California WARN Act.  Companies with questions about the applicability of the California WARN Act should contact experienced counsel.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed California’s limited COVID-19 right of recall law in April 2021, which established an obligation for certain employers to recall employees who were laid off because of COVID-19 when job positions become available. The industries affected by the right to recall are the hospitality industry and the building services industry.  The California Labor Commissioner recently issued answers to a series of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the right to recall law. The guidance provides helpful information to employers regarding the specifics of the law, including what industries are encompassed by the law and which employees have recall rights. Companies with questions about the right to recall should contact experienced counsel with questions.