Recent New York State and New York City COVID-19 Response Updates

NY State Government: Week in Review

Over the past two weeks, both the state and New York City have taken a number of actions designed to address mounting concerns around the emergence of the omicron coronavirus variant, and case load surges more broadly. This article provides an overview of these actions, including the updated private employer vaccine mandates in New York City and Executive Order actions by the Hochul administration.

New York City Private Employer Vaccination Mandate

In his press conference on December 6, outgoing New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced a set of expanded measures to address concerns about surging cases of both the omicron variant and winter COVID-19. While details of the new measures are as yet unclear, the mayor announced a new vaccination mandate for in-person employees of all private employers. The measure would take effect on December 27 and would require employees to have one dose of a vaccine by that date. The mandate reportedly has no regular testing alternative but will include provisions for both religious and medical exemptions. Notably, as of the time of this writing, Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’ transition team was still examining the policy and had yet to commit publicly to continuing it. Manatt will continue to monitor the mandate and will share more information as it becomes available.

Executive Order Updates: Health Care Flexibilities and New State Disaster Emergency

On November 26, Governor Kathy Hochul issued Executive Order (EO) 4.2, which extended the health care flexibilities already in place under the Governor’s previously issued EO 4.1. This set of flexibilities is extended through December 26 under the new EO.

In addition, on November 26, the Governor signed EO 11, declaring a new State Disaster Emergency (SDE) through January 15, 2022. This new SDE operates independently of the SDE that was declared under EO 4, which focused on health care workforce flexibilities and remains in place as extended by EO 4.2. In addition to declaring the new SDE, EO 11 directs the implementation of the State Comprehensive Emergency Plan; authorizes state agencies to “take appropriate action to assist local governments and individuals in containing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from this state disaster emergency, to protect state and local property, and to provide such other assistance as is necessary to protect public health, welfare, and safety”; and authorizes the Department of Health (DOH) to activate the state’s Surge and Flex system. DOH’s most recent guidance on implementation of the Surge and Flex system is covered in greater depth by Michael Paulsen in this newsletter.

In addition to the measures above, EO 11 waives select provisions of both the State Finance Law and the Economic Development Law through December 26. These waivers are similar to actions the state had taken previously to provide economic and supply chain flexibilities to address the pandemic, and will allow the state to:

  • Add additional work, sites, funding, and time to state contracts, or to award contracts, including:
    • Contracts or leases for relocation and support of state operations under Section 3 of the Public Buildings Law
    • Contracts under Section 9 of the Public Buildings Law
    • Contracts for professional services under Section 136-a of the State Finance Law
    • Contracts for purchases of commodities, services and technology through any federal GSA schedules, federal 1122 programs, or other state, regional, local, multi-jurisdictional or cooperative contract vehicles
  • Purchase necessary commodities, services, technology and materials without following the standard notice and procurement processes
  • Purchase food, supplies, services and equipment, or furnish or provide various centralized services, to assist affected local governments, individuals and other nonstate entities in responding to and recovering from the disaster emergency

Manatt will continue to monitor the implementation of these measures, as well as any additional actions taken by the city or state in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, and looks forward to providing you additional detail as it becomes available. Please contact a member of the Manatt team with any questions you may have.

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