On September 20, the US Travel Association shared this news:
"Today, the White House announced it would ease entry restrictions on international air travel for vaccinated individuals, a welcome development as our industry convenes with more than 700 international delegates this week at IPW to bring future travel to America.
What this means: International travelers visiting the United States will have to show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a U.S.-bound flight and a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure. Enhanced contact tracing and masking will also be required, but there will be no quarantine mandate. The new policy will take effect in early November, to give agencies and airlines time to prepare for the changes.
Why it matters: With many travel bans in place since March 2020, this is a major turning point in the management of the virus that will accelerate the recovery of the millions of travel-related jobs that have been lost due to international travel restrictions."
As of September 8, 2021, the Department of Health has not yet released any new specific precautions, restrictions, etc. as a result of this designation. It is anticipated that any new guidance for employers may mirror the NY Forward Guidelines we were all operating under prior to May 19 of this year. Until specific guidance comes from the DOH, employers would be best served by adopting provisions of the NY Forward plans – specifically masks for all workers, social distancing, and monitoring the health of employees. While daily health assessments are not yet required by the DOH, employers should remind workers not to come to work if exhibiting symptoms of COVID.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced on September 6 that the Commissioner of Health has designated COVID-19 a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” under New York State's HERO Act. This will require all employers to implement the workplace safety plans required under the HERO Act. Under the law, all employers were required to adopt a workplace safety plan by August 5, with the plan to be implemented when such a designation is made by the Commissioner of Health. A more detailed discussion of the HERO act and employer obligations under this designation are available in our recent HR Committee update, available here.