On May 16, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updates to its mask-wearing guidelines, advising fully vaccinated Americans that they no longer need to wear masks or maintain social distance either indoors or out, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial regulations - including local business and workplace guidance.
Three days later, on May 19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would adopt those recommendations, with a few exceptions: Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings. In those contexts, everyone still needs to be properly masked at all times.
This week, the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB) and Local 32BJ, the union that represents many of the state’s building service workers, came to an agreement regarding the updated federal and state guidance on masking in their workplaces. According to a joint statement from the groups, that understanding is as follows:
Employers should immediately clarify their mask policy considering the updated CDC/NYS masking rules.
Employers who wish to continue a policy requiring masks on 100% of employees may continue to do so.