Governor Hochul Activates HERO Act Requirement

Governor Kathy Hochul has directed the State Health Department to officially designate COVID-19 as a “highly contagious airborne infectious disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” under the Hero Act, requiring employers to activate the plans they adopted. As a result of this designation, New York employers must immediately implement their plans for preventing infectious airborne disease exposure in the workplace that they were required to prepare this summer pursuant to the “NY Hero Act.”

The NYS HERO Act required employers to adopt their written plan by August 5, 2021, and to communicate the plan to their employees by September 4, 2021.

Employers must provide their plan in writing to their employees, in English and the language identified by each employee as their primary language. This must be provided upon hire as well as upon reopening after a period of closure due to an airborne infectious disease outbreak. Additionally, the plan must be posted in a visible and prominent location in the worksite, and employers who provide employee handbooks must include the plan in their handbook. Furthermore, employers must make the plan available upon request to all employees, independent contractors, employee representatives, and collective bargaining representatives, in addition to the Department of Labor and the Department of Health.

In case you haven’t yet adopted your plan, please do so right away. You can use one of the following Labor Department model documents:

Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan

Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan for Retail

Or, you can draft your own plan, as long as it meets all the requirements spelled out in the document below:

Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard