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Businesses owners can get information and resources to reopen safely, protect their staff and customers, run their business, and get financial assistance during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Workplace Safety

Employers can reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in their workplace by following these tips:

  • Reduce exposure through staggered and flexible schedules, and virtual meetings and events instead of in-person activities
  • Encourage employees to get tested for COVID-19
  • Remind employees to stay home if they are sick or test positive
  • Require masks at all times
  • Help employees stay distanced from each other and the public while working
  • Promote COVID-19 vaccination

Industry-Specific Guidelines

New York State’s New York Forward industry-specific guidelines—including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing—are now lifted for all businesses except indoor event venues with a capacity of 5,000 to 9,999.

Other businesses are free to choose to follow the State's archived guidance or implement other health precautions for their employees and patrons. They are also allowed to require masks and six feet of social distancing for employees and customers, regardless of vaccination status.

Learn more about COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in New York State.

Learn about rules for large indoor event venues.

Vaccine Mandates

The New York State mask-or-vaccine requirement for all indoor businesses settings was officially lifted on Thursday, February 10, 2022.

However the State still requires face coverings for everyone when in:

  • Public transit
  • Health care settings
  • Childcare centers
  • Congregate settings, such as nursing homes and homeless shelters
  • Correctional facilities

Private Businesses

The Key to NYC vaccine mandate ended on March 7, 2022. The program required employees and customers of indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment venues to prove they were vaccinated.

Businesses previously covered by Key to NYC rules can still require proof of vaccination or masking indoors if they choose.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene workplace vaccine mandate (separate from Key to NYC) for all private businesses in New York City remains in effect. Employees covered by this mandate are required to show their employers proof that they received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 27, 2021. Proof of a second dose (for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) is required 45 days later.

Reasonable accommodation requests must have been submitted to employers by December 27. Employees may continue working while accommodations are being processed.

Employers must:

  • Post an official DOHMH sign in an obvious spot
  • Keep a record of each worker’s proof and any reasonable accommodations
  • Ensure employees get their second dose

Learn more about the mandate.

Business owners can access resources and assistance from Small Business Services (SBS) on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Businesses page.

Public Schools

At this time, there is no general vaccine mandate for students ages 5 or older attending public school. However, vaccination is required for students ages 5 and up participating in high-risk sports and extracurricular activities.

All DOE employees and City contracted child care/after-school staff were also required to submit proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 1, 2021. Learn more on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Schools page.

Private Schools

All employees at private schools, including yeshivas and Catholic schools, are required to show proof they received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 20, 2021. At this time there is no vaccine mandate for students attending private schools.

Learn more on the Private School Vaccine Mandate page.

City Workers

To learn about mandates for City government workers, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and City Workers page.

Healthcare Workers

In New York State, all healthcare workers. including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities that are public or private, were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as of September 27, 2021.

These facilities include: 

  • Adult care 
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Other congregate care settings

The State Department of Health requires these facilities to develop and implement a policy mandating employee vaccination, with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons.

You should contact your employer’s human resources department for more information.

Office of Mental Health and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

Staff were required to show proof of at least the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine series as of November 1, 2021. There is no test-out option.

State Court System

All NY State court system workers were required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be tested weekly for COVID-19 as of September 1, 2021.

Learn more about the vaccine mandate.

In addition to keeping their workers and customers safe during the COVID-19 crisis, employers must continue to follow the workplace protection laws in place for their employees.

For information about vaccine mandates for City government workers, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and City Workers page.

Worker Rights

Sick Leave

Under NYC’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, covered employees have the right to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member. The federal and state governments have also passed laws to protect workers.  To learn more, visit the Paid Safe and Sick Leave page.

In addition to paid sick leave, employees may be eligible for 2 additional days of unpaid leave under NYC’s Temporary Schedule Change Law. For more information, visit the Temporary Work Schedule Change page.

Work Schedule Changes

Under the law, covered employees have a right to temporary changes to their work schedule for certain personal events. Learn more on the Temporary Work Schedule Change page.

Commuter Benefits Law

Most New York City companies with 20 or more full-time employees must provide pre-tax transit benefits. Learn more on the Commuter Benefits Law page. 

Work Protections for Specific Workers

Retail and Fast Food Workers

Retail and fast food employers must offer employees predictable work schedules and give advance notice of changes or cancelations. Learn more on the Fair Workweek Law page.

Grocery Store Workers

After a grocery store is sold, the former owner and new owner must notify the store's workers about the change in ownership and their employment rights. For more information, visit the Grocery Store Sale Requirements page.

Paid Care Workers

Paid care workers include homecare and domestic workers such as:

  • Nannies
  • Caregivers
  • Home health aides
  • Personal care aides
  • Home attendants
  • House cleaners

You can learn about paid care worker rights, legal responsibilities for employers and get help with questions or complaints on the Paid Care Worker or Employer Assistance page.

Freelance Workers

You can learn about freelance worker rights, legal responsibilities for employers, and get help with questions or complaints, including contract disputes and payment issues on the Freelance Worker and Hiring Party Assistance page.

COVID-19 Discrimination

Employers cannot harass or discriminate against workers because of fears or stigma around COVID-19, including harassment or discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes.

If this is happening to you, you can report it to the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Learn more on the Discrimination page.

Reasonable Accommodations for Vaccine Mandates

Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Mandates page to learn about reasonable accommodations for employees covered by the vaccine mandate.

Discrimination

It is illegal for business owners or staff at places of public accommodations, such as grocery stores, medical facilities, or restaurants, to kick customers out, refuse service, or otherwise treat customers less well than other customers because of fears or stigma around COVID-19. This includes harassment or discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes.

Learn more about the law and how to report discrimination on the Discrimination page.

Price Gouging

Price gouging is illegal for any personal or household good or any service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Examples include:

  • Cleaning products
  • Disinfectants (wipes, liquids, sprays)
  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Medicines

Learn more on the Overcharge page.

Other Rules and Regulations

You can get information about City, county, State, and Federal business regulations through the NYC Business website.

Visit the Business Financial Assistance page to learn how to access grants, loans, and other programs that can help you reopen and grow your business. 

You can get help running your business, including:

  • Reopening
  • Complying with regulations
  • Licensing, permits, and inspections
  • Legal assistance, including help reviewing or negotiating your commercial lease
  • Recruiting employees

Online

Visit the following pages for information:

By Phone

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Small Business Services Hotline
  • Phone Number: (888) 727-4692
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

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