Seyfarth Synopsis: New York State has updated its COVID-19 guidance by adopting the CDC recommendation that quarantining for mere exposure to someone with COVID-19 is no longer necessary.

As part of a larger deregulation trend regarding COVID-19, the New York State Health Department revised its COVID-19 guidance webpage this week to state that it is following the CDC’s guidance for isolation and for exposure. Under the CDC’s guidance, announced on August 11, 2022 and discussed here, individuals exposed to COVID-19 should wear a “high-quality” mask for 10 days and test after the fifth full day following exposure, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC explained that it was hoping to “move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives,” while acknowledging that the pandemic is not over.

Previously, the CDC recommended quarantine for anyone who was exposed to COVID-19, and New York State followed suit. Now, quarantine for mere exposure is no longer required for those not exhibiting symptoms or otherwise testing positive for COVID-19.

The State’s revision of its recommended approach comes on the heels of a number of recent pronouncements easing preventative measures for COVID-19 exposure, including the lifting of masking requirements on New York City and regional public transportation. Similarly, the vaccine mandate remains in effect for NYC private sector employers, although the City reiterated in June 2022 that it is focused on “prioritizing education instead of enforcement” of the mandate.

Both the CDC and NYS guidance publications are for general application and are not specific to employers or the workplace. Nonetheless, New York employers should now consider revising their workplace COVID-19 policies to reflect these changes.