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  • Jennifer A. Shoemaker

Governor Orders Employees Be Provided with Face Masks if Criteria is Met

In addition to Jennifer Shoemaker, this post was authored with input from Paul Keneally and Alina Nadir.


Tonight, April 15, 2020, at 8:00 P.M., a new obligation under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.16 takes effect requiring that essential businesses still operating on site during this time of NYS PAUSE must provide employees with face coverings and require employees to use them when those employees are in direct contact (generally six feet or less) with customers or members of the public.

Employers are required to provide a mask or face covering at the employer’s expense, but employees may use their own face covering at their sole option. Face coverings include cloth, surgical masks, N-95 respirators and face shields, though the latter of those are prioritized for health care workers and first responders. The Governor’s office has indicated that employers who are unable to supply the face coverings should contact their local county office of emergency management, but that this does not remove the employer’s obligation to provide the face coverings. The Rochester Chamber of Commerce has information on the acquisition of masks for those who need them.

Some employees may be exempted from this requirement should it inhibit or impair their health, and for those of that group who are over 70, or who have compromised immune systems or underlying illnesses (i.e., Matilda’s Law categories), reasonable accommodations should be provided to them.


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