New York Vaccine Mandate: What Private Sector Employers Need to Do

New York City's workplace vaccine health order goes into effect on Monday, meaning private sector businesses will require their workers to be fully vaccinated. The mandate is expected to apply to roughly 184,000 businesses — here's what employers should know.

According to the New York City's Department of Health, businesses will need to verify their workers' proof of vaccination by the December 27 deadline.

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes:

  • a photo or hard copy of a CDC Vaccination Card
  • an NYC Vaccination Record; any other official immunization record (e.g. from a healthcare provider)
  • the NYC COVID Safe App
  • a CLEAR Digital Vaccine Card or CLEAR Health Pass
  • the New York State Excelsior Pass
  • a photo or hard copy of an official vaccination record of a vaccine administered outside the U.S.

Employees who cannot get vaccinated due to a medical condition or sincerely held religious beliefs must apply for reasonable accommodation by Monday.

Businesses can also create their own paper or electronic vaccination records for employees, which includes their names and whether they are fully vaccinated, or a record of reasonable accommodation with supporting documentation.

For workers who have only had the first of a two-dose vaccine, the document will include the date by which they can provide proof of a second dose, which cannot be any later than 45 days after submitting proof of the first dose.

Businesses can also conduct daily checks of each employee's proof of vaccination prior to their entry into the workplace. Records of each verification must be kept.

Non-employee workers (e.g. contractors) will also need to provide vaccination proof to their employers. Businesses can ask these employers to provide their workers' proof of vaccination, and must keep records of requests and confirmations.

Employees who do not provide required documentation cannot be admitted into their workplace. Workers can enter a place of work for a "quick and limited time" without needing to show proof of vaccination (e.g. to use the bathroom or make a delivery.)

Businesses must also complete and sign an Affirmation of Compliance with Workplace Vaccination Requirements certificate by December 27. The document — which is meant to be posted in a public-facing location — affirms that the employer has "read the December 13, 2021 Order of the New York City Commissioner of Health requiring vaccination of workers" and that their workplace is "in compliance with the Order."

Employers should also be prepared to make the records outlined in the order available for inspection, consistent with applicable law.

Also starting December 27, people 12 years old and older participating in certain indoor activities will be required to show proof they have received two vaccine doses, except for people who were vaccinated with a single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Children aged five to 11 will need to show proof of full vaccination starting January 29, 2022.

The indoor activities include indoor dining (including restaurants, coffee shops, nightclubs, cafeterias, and grocery stores with indoor dining areas), indoor fitness places, and indoor entertainment and meeting spaces (including movie theaters, music venues, performing arts theaters, museums, aquariums and zoos, sports arenas, indoor stadiums and more.)

On December 17, New York state recorded the highest number of new coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, with more than 21,000 new cases reported.

In New York City — which saw rising Omicron-related cases — the number of children hospitalized due to COVID-19 has quadrupled over the past three weeks.

Masked employee works at NYC coffee shop
An employee at a coffee shop in Manhattan wears a masks as signs ask for proof of vaccination on the day that a mask mandate went into effect in New York on December 13, 2021 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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