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. In a recent press briefing, Governor Hochul had announced an extension of the mandate until at least February 1, 2022.

On January 24, 2022, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Thomas Rademaker, who authored the opinion, found the New York State Department of Health’s rule instituting the mandate to be void and unenforceable. Shortly after the issuance of the decision and order, the New York State Attorney General, on behalf of the New York State Department of Health, Public Health and Health Planning Council, Mary T. Bassett in her official capacity as the Commissioner of Health for the State of New York, and Kathleen C. Hochul, in her official capacity as the Governor of the State of New York, filed a notice of appeal.

A formal hearing on the appeal is currently scheduled for Friday, January 28, 2022. Until then, the mask mandate remains in effect.

At this point, it is not expected that the court’s decision will affect local COVID-19–related measures, such as New York City’s private-sector vaccine mandate.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to New York COVID-19 mandates and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.