New York Appellate Court Stays Mask Mandate Injunction

On January 25, 2022, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department granted a stay of a Nassau County trial court’s injunction of the enforcement of the state’s mask mandate, which went into effect on December 13, 2021. The mandate, which was announced by Governor Kathy Hochul on December 10, 2021, required that masks be worn in indoor public spaces, unless a covered businesses had implemented a mandatory vaccination requirement.

Beyond the OSHA ETS and CMS Rule: What’s Up With Biden’s Executive Orders?

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Testing Standard (ETS) met its demise at the Supreme Court of the United States on January 13, 2022. That same day, the Court allowed a vaccine rule promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to enforce its healthcare interim final rule. But what’s the status of Executive Orders (EO) 14042 and 14043, which requires certain federal contractors and all executive-agency federal employees to comply with workplace safety rules, including vaccinations? Here’s an update.

CMS Vaccine Mandate Update: Last, but Not Least, Texas Joins the Rest of the Country

On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion staying preliminary injunctions issued in cases filed in Missouri and Louisiana challenging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare providers. The ruling stayed preliminary injunctions applicable to twenty-four states. Twenty-five states were already subject to enforcement under the CMS rule. This left Texas standing alone and in limbo.

New York Extends Mask-or-Vaccine Requirement

On December 13, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul instituted a mandate requiring that masks be worn in indoor public spaces, unless a covered business has implemented a mandatory vaccination requirement. The mandate was set to be reevaluated on January 15, 2022. However, as part of her “Winter Surge Plan 2.0,” and before the mandate’s original expiration date, Governor Hochul extended the mask-or-vaccine requirement for an additional two weeks, until at least February 1, 2022. As part of the announcement, the governor indicated that the state would reassess masking requirements in February 2022.

Twin Cities Issue Vaccine Mandates for Restaurants, Bars, and Entertainment Venues

On January 12, 2022, just one week after issuing mask mandates, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter issued executive orders mandating that places of public accommodation serving food and drinks indoors require persons to furnish proof of vaccination or negative PCR or antigen tests. Then, on January 13, 2022, and January 14, 2022, respectively, Mayor Carter and Mayor Frey each issued additional emergency regulations amending their January 12, 2022, orders.

Illinois Adopts New Public Employer Rules on Federal OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS

On January 7, 2022, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) filed peremptory rules adopting the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). IDOL will require all state and local public employers in Illinois to comply with ETS sections (d)-(l).

New Orleans Revives Mask Mandate, Effective January 12, 2022

New Orleans has revived its mask mandate for indoor spaces, effective January 12, 2022. Citing increased COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates, Mayor Latoya Cantrell has ordered that all individuals over the age of two who do not have breathing complications must wear masks “when in indoor spaces outside the household, unless actively eating or drinking.”

Oregon OSHA Announces Schedule for Implementing COVID-19 Vaccine or Test Standard

Oregon operates a state plan that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has approved that applies to both public and private employers. Accordingly, Oregon employers are subject to the state OSHA’s standards rather than the federal OSHA standards. Oregon OSHA may adopt an emergency temporary standard (ETS) related to COVID-19 that differs from the federal ETS, but Oregon OSHA’s ETS must be “as effective as” the federal ETS.

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard and CMS Vaccine Rule

On Friday, January 7, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments on challenges to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) COVID-19 vaccination mandate for certain healthcare providers.

Ontario Implements New Lockdown and Revised COVID-19 Testing Guidance

On January 3, 2022, the Ontario government announced a number of restrictions in response to climbing COVID-19 case numbers and increased hospitalizations. Effective January 5, 2022, the province is temporarily returning to a modified version of its previous Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen under O. Reg. 263/20. The province will return to Step Two for a minimum of 21 days (until January 26, 2022), at which point the restrictions will be evaluated.

California Department of Public Health Issues Updated COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance

On December 30, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued its updated “Guidance for Local Health Jurisdictions on Isolation and Quarantine of the General Public.” With the updated guidance, the CDPH’s position appears to be consistent with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently revised recommended five-day isolation and quarantine period for the general population.

Cook County, Illinois, Issues Proof-of-COVID-19-Vaccination Requirements for Restaurants, Gyms, and Indoor Entertainment Venues

On December 23, 2021, Cook County, Illinois, issued Public Health Order No. 2021-11, joining the City of Chicago in requiring certain indoor establishments (including restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, and entertainment venues) to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of patrons five years of age and older, effective January 3, 2022.

New York City Law Grants Employees Paid COVID-19 Child Vaccination Leave

On December 24, 2021, New York City enacted a law (Introduction No. 2448-2021) permitting employees who are parents to take paid time off to accompany their children when they receive COVID-19 vaccinations. In addition, the law allows these employees to take paid time off to care for their children if they experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.

Chicago Issues Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Restaurants, Gyms, and Indoor Concerts

On December 21, 2021, the City of Chicago issued Public Health Order 2021-2, which requires  certain indoor establishments (including restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues) to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of patrons five years of age and older, effective January 3, 2022. Chicago joins New York City, Los Angeles, and certain Bay Area counties in implementing a proof of COVID-19 vaccine mandate. This news comes as cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant surge in Chicago and sweep the United States at-large.

Bill Granting Additional Employee Paid COVID-19 Child Vaccination Leave Awaits New York Mayor’s Signature

On November 23, 2021, the New York City Council passed a bill (Introduction No. 2448-2021) that, if enacted into law, would allow employees who are parents paid time off to accompany their children to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and to care for their children due to side effects from vaccines.